Des Moines, IA;April 3, 2024: Today, Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law SB 2096, which ends decades of gender discrimination on Iowa’s boards and commissions.

Iowa has been the only state in the U.S. to explicitly mandate that state, county, and local decision-making bodies are “balanced by gender” — meaning applicants must pass a hurdle based on gender before being considered for their skill, experience, or ability.

In January of this year, in a case brought by Pacific Legal Foundation, a federal judge struck down Iowa’s gender quota law as applied to one commission, but laws requiring discrimination on all others still applied. SB 2096, sponsored by Senator Jason Schultz, gives qualified Iowans the opportunity to serve, ensuring both women and men are on an equal playing field.

“The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law, and now Iowa’s laws fulfill that promise to board and commission applicants of either gender,” said Kileen Lindgren, legal policy manager at PLF.

In a recent report, PLF researchers found that at least 25 states have race- or sex-conscious mandates or quotas for public board membership. We hope that Governor Reynolds will lead the way and be an example for other states to work with legislators to end discrimination.


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About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit law firm that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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