Mission: The american civil liberties union foundation of iowa (acluf of iowa) works to defend and promote the constitution of the united states, focusing especially on the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and 14th amendments. It works through litigation and legal advocacy, as well as through public education, to secure and advance the civil liberties values which are reflected in those and other amendments and provisions of the constitution.
Programs: Legal advocacy and litigation program services: specific actions taken during the year ended march 31, 2017 include but are not limited to:- brought suit to end iowa medicaid's discriminatory ban on gender confirming surgery for transgender iowans- brought suit to challenge discriminatory work environment and benefits for transgender employee of state government- litigated case seeking to end iowa's felony disenfranchisement regime in griffin v. Pate, and following decision, launched coalition to end felony disenfranchisement through constitutional amendment, executive action, and where appropriate, legislation - filed suit in state district court (later won following reporting period) alleging lack of statutory authority and free speech violation on behalf of former public official who was sanctioned for his political speech by the iowa ethics board in iowa district court- brought federal lawsuit, later settled, to successfully protect iowa teen from criminal charges of exploitation of a minor for sending non-nude selfies to another teen, on free speech and equal protection grounds- negotiated improved state compliance with the national voter registration act requirements to provide voter registration services to voters at public assistance agencies- litigated as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in important immigrants' rights case seeking to protect a dreamer from state criminal prosecution related to obtaining the benefits of daca in violation of federal preemption doctrine; case was resolved in our favor following the reporting period. - successfully worked to improve policies in for transgender prison and jail inmates in iowa - worked to improve state policies governing iowa driver's license sex-designation for transgender iowans (reform successfully adopted following reporting period)- advocated for adoption of new court rule ending the routine use of shackles and other restraints on juveniles in court (court rule later successfully adopted following reporting period)- filed judicial review action in iowa district court to challenge iowa's parole system as cruel and unusual as applied to juvenile offenders for the denial of a meaningful opportunity for release- filed amicus curiae brief with iowa supreme court on behalf of juvenile sentenced to life with the possibility of parole under iowa's new juvenile sentencing regime- successfully challenged and settled iowa civil rights act action alleging race and gender identity discrimination in public accommodations against iowa hotel. - successfully defended iowa veteran against criminal charges brought under iowa's unconstitutional flag desecration statute- legal information letter to all iowa public schools regarding legal requirements not to engage in religious instruction or proselytizing at school following investigation into troubling public school assembly in rural iowa school- documentation of, and advocate against, the use of municipal government surveillance cameras inside public bathrooms (resulting in successful passage of state legislation to ban, following reporting period)- represented iowan in demanding iowa city revise its unconstitutional demonstration and speech permit ordinance, later successfully resolved with the adoption of an amendment to the challenged municipal code language- sent letter to all iowa public school superintendents informing them of the rights of immigrants in public schools- presented know-your-rights presentations focusing on the rights of immigrants and combatting anti-muslim discrimination in des moines and ames, and trained iowa volunteer attorneys to present similar educational presentations throughout the state- presented continuing-legal-education presentation regarding poverty in the legal system, focusing on debtors prisons and court debt issues in iowa, in des moines- presented on racial justice issues in the new political climate, in davenport, iowa- developed legal fellowship program to investigate criminalization of poverty and court debt issues in iowa, and propose reforms
public education and advocacy program services: acluf of iowa staff work year round to make sure that iowa's laws and government promote civil liberties and protect our most fundamental rights and liberties. Educating the public on their civil liberties and advocating on their behalf is a year-round activity. Specific actions taken during the year ended march 31, 2017 include but are not limited to:- named recipient of $500 mannheimer civil liberties youth award- provided information and interviews to the media on a variety of civil liberties issues- presented information to community members and organizations across the state on a variety of civil liberties issues- developed and sent out educational and informational materials via mail, facebook, twitter, on our website, and through mass emails- participated in public education panels, forums and events on multiple topics.
legislative advocacy program services: acluf of iowa achievements in the area of legislative advocacy during the year ended march 31, 2017 include but are not limited to:- advocated for the voting rights of all iowans by opposing voter id legislation- advocated for significant smart justice legislation, including bills to prevent racial profiling, regulate use of police body cameras, and reform sentencing- advocated for legislation to provide for non-discrimination protections for pregnant employees in the workplace, including in the provision of reasonable accommodations- successfully advocated for legislation that reformed civil asset forfeiture in iowa- successfully advocated for legislation that banned cities from discriminating against non-relatives in rentals- successfully opposed a bill modifying the iowa civil rights act, which would have allowed familial status and race discrimination in housing - successfully opposed a bill to allow religion-based discrimination under the guise of religious freedom- successfully opposed a bill to reinstate the death penalty in iowa