The Iowa House gave final approval to a bill Monday night to give gays, lesbians and others more time to file complaints under Iowa’s civil rights statute. The bill now goes to the governor.
Last year, sexual orientation was added to Iowa’s civil rights statute, banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation. The House bill would extend from 180 to 300 days the time to file complaints.
Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, opposed the change, saying 180 days is more than enough to know whether or not you have been discriminated against. Baudler says, "I don’t think state agencies should be extending any more power than they have."
He claims the bill could hurt Iowa businesses, saying: "If you look at the insurance companies, they are against this, citing reasons of increased lawsuits. I don’t think that’s something we should be doing in a business-friendly atmosphere."
Iowans already have 300 days to file federal complaints, but federal law does not cover gays and lesbians, so the bill gives them 300 days of protection for the first time. Last year in Iowa, two out of some 12-hundred civil rights complaints were filed on the basis of sexual orientation.