Critics decry ‘mean-spirited’ Part Eight invoice despatched to Gov. Kim Reynolds

IOWA CITY – Iowa City officials and Marion have denounced as vicious, cruel, and discriminatory a bill awaiting a decision by Governor Kim Reynolds to undermine its ability to force landlords to accept federal rental vouchers from tenants.

If the bill were signed, the Senate Act would prevent 252 counties and cities from taking or enforcing measures prohibiting landlords from refusing to let someone use a federal voucher to choose a place to live, such as apartment rentals. B. a voucher in accordance with Section 8.

If the law were signed, the measure would take effect in the right way. However, existing regulations prohibiting a landlord from discriminating against a “source of income” – as they are now on the books in Iowa City and Marion – would not be repealed until January 2023.

Rep. Dave Deyoe, R-Nevada, who administered SF 252 at Iowa House, said during the Chamber’s debate on March 15 that the bill was intended to keep the Section 8 program “voluntary” – both for renters and renters also for landlords.

“There are landlords out there who specialize in Section 8 housing and they want to do that,” he said. “… some landlords, you know, like to take care of it because they are essentially getting checks that don’t bounce off.”

But there are landlords, he said, who don’t want to worry about the paperwork, inspections, and building upgrades that may be required.

Following a change proposed by Deyoe, existing ordinances in the few cities in Iowa where they exist would not be struck off the books for about two years to allow for a transition so tenants in those communities would not be at the risk of getting theirs right away To lose home.

Still, such a law would be discrimination, said critics.


“There are two ways in which politics can be discriminatory: in their face or in their effects,” said Marion City Manager Lon Pluckhahn. “This guideline doesn’t pass any of the tests. …

This is a direct attack on Section 8. I look at it and say, “What’s next?” Other disability benefits? Veteran Perks? Any time you put the term “these people” in the equation, it is discrimination. “

According to the latest data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than 19,000 Iowans are receiving state aid under the program. About a third of the program participants are racial or ethnic minorities, as the figures show. Of the families who receive help, around 29 percent say that someone in the household has a disability.

Lobbyists said both the Iowa Apartment Association and the Iowa Landlord Association support the bill. Cities across Iowa, as well as the Iowa ACLU, the Iowa-Nebraska Chapter of the NAACP, and others are opposed to the bill.

“We’re going to ask the governor for a veto,” said Rachel Killburg, assistant to Iowa City Manager Geoff Fruin.

Killburg said if the bill becomes law, the city will have little time to educate landlords about the benefits of the federal program.

Christine Ralston, director of development at Shelter House, said the bill would affect not only low-income Iowans, but veterans and others as well.

“This bill deprives municipalities of the right to protect their people,” Ralston said. “In addition … something like this is never really justifiable from our point of view.”


According to Ralston, Shelter House is using Housing Vouchers and its network of landlords as part of its quick remodeling program to help find permanent housing for the homeless. She said the measure would make her job difficult.

Chris Villhauer, president of the Greater Iowa City Apartment Association, said the bill had not been widely discussed by members.

“Nobody is against the voucher program for apartment choice,” said Villhauer. “I think it’s a good program for what it’s supposed to be doing.”

However, Villhauer does not believe that the program guarantees landlords money. Villhauer said that if tenants violate the regulations in the voucher program, they could lose their apartment. But landlords have little recourse to make up for losses, he said.

“Does it happen often? No, ”he said. “But it happens.”

Bret Nilles, a member of the Marion Civil Rights Commission who is also chairman of the Linn County Democrats, said he was disappointed that this bill was passed by both the GOP-controlled House and the Senate.

“It really feels like a vicious attack on low-income people, people with disabilities, veterans and minorities,” Nilles said. “In order to take these measures that really affect some people’s freedoms and rights and the ability to rent decent housing, people are really being deprived of protection.”

Nilles said he was trying to reach out to Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Pat Grassley, to explain the implications of the bill.

But he wasn’t lucky.

“That’s the frustrating part. … We have a rural state with a lot of Republicans in rural cities that don’t have different groups that we have in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Des Moines, ”Nilles said. “That’s why I tried to call myself and explain it. All we can do is reach out to lawmakers and try to keep them informed, but if they don’t respond, there’s not much we can do. “


Janice Weiner, a member of the Iowa City Council, said the state’s focus now should be on helping Iowans cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, “not making decisions about how best to hurt them”.

“I don’t think legalizing discrimination can do anything,” she said.

Notes: (319) 339-3155; [email protected]

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