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Pre-emption bill softens aim on civil rights ordinances

February 24, 2017

The Gazette

Mitchell Schmidt

February 23, 2017

A bill in the Iowa Statehouse targeting local control on such topics as the minimum wage now takes a more focused stance on city and county civil rights ordinances. An earlier draft of the bill would have taken away local governments’ ability to adopt civil rights ordinances that go above and beyond the statewide standard. But an amendment filed this week narrows that section of the bill’s scope to cover lease agreements between residential rental property owners and their tenants.

The amended bill essentially would eliminate any local measure that requires a landlord to consider a tenant’s or potential tenant’s source of income when leasing a property. Housing voucher ordinances such as those in Iowa City and Marion — which ban landlords from discriminating against voucher holders — would be abolished under the bill. The bill also still would eliminate local minimum wage higher than the state’s $7.25 rate as well as plastic bag ordinances.

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