The Iowa Senate has voted to go along with a House plan to change Iowa’s flag desecration law in response to a recent court ruling.
A judge ruled Iowa’s law which outlined what is considered misuse of the flag is too vague and therefore unconstituional. Now, with Wednesday’s Senate action, the legislature has adopted an update which more clearly defines what it means to deface, defile or mutilate the flag.
But Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, argued the changes will make Iowa’s law more rather than less vulnerable to challenges that it violates free speech rights. "As we provide more specificity to the language here, we then begin to restrict expressions of contempt," Quirmbach said.
The only other comment during Senate consideration of the issue came from Senator David Hartsuch, a Republican from Bettendorf. "Essential to every civilization is the ability to foster a love of that society," he said. "A respect for the flag as a symbol of our society is absolutely essential."
The new flag rules were attached to another bill dealing with veterans issues and that bill must again be reviewed by the House before it goes to Governor Culver’s desk for his approval.