The Iowa House has unanimously voted to clarify Iowa’s law barring desecration of the flag. Last week a judge ruled the current Iowa law governing misuse of the flag is unconstitutional. Representative Matt Windschitle, a Republican from Missouri Valley who’s an Iraq war veteran, helped write the update which more clearly defines what it means to deface, defile or mutilate the flag.
"I have saluted our flag on many parade decks on different bases throughout this country. I saluted our flag while it flew over the sands of Iraq. I pledge allegiance to this flag every day that we are in session," Windschitl says. "I think that our flag needs to have the utmost in respect and dignity afforded to it that is possible." Last night, Windschitle’s flag protection proposal was attached to a bill that dealt with the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs.
Representative McKinley Bailey, a Democrat from Webster City who’s also a veteran, said it’s not a partisan issue. "Democrats, Republicans and Independents all understand the importance of our flag," Bailey said, predicting that Iowans would be "pleased" with the pro-flag proposal. Bailey told his colleagues in the legislature a little bit about his own service in Afghanistan.
"I actually dodged some rockets underneath the flag there…and the line ‘bombs bursting in air’ from the National Anthem kind of took on a new meaning to me," Bailey said. Representative Jeff Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, said the Civil Liberties Union will likely seek to undue this new standard.
"This thing’s going to go right back into court after we fix it and it’s going to be challenged again," Kaufmann said. "We may be back here again and again and again so we can either say, ‘That’s it. Forget the statue,’ or we can meet them every single time and do to the best of our ability what Iowa values determine we should do." The bill which includes that anti-flag desecration language now goes to the Iowa Senate for consideration.