DES MOINES, Iowa -- A new law is Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds' signature away from limiting transgender students to using the bathroom that aligns with their sex at birth. An Iowa LGBTQ advocacy group says those students and their schools could have very little time to prepare for changes called for in the bill.
"As soon as the governor signs it, it goes into effect. So overnight, they're going to be forced to use a different restroom. That creates more disruption, more safety issues than any policy ever could," says One Iowa Director of Policy and Advocacy Keenan Crow.
Under the law, students would need parental consent to request a special accommodation from schools like using a faculty or single-occupancy restroom.
Crow says complaints against a district of improper bathroom use by a student can be made by anyone--staff, other students, or parents. Those complaints could end up in the office of the Iowa Attorney General.
"The school district has three days to respond (to a complaint). If they don't adequately respond to that, it spawns an attorney general investigation--as if the attorney general doesn't have enough to do aside from investigating the bathroom habits of children," Crow says.
Crow also says the new bill reverses a 2007 Iowa law that allows transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender to which they identify.
"For 15 years trans students have been able to use the restrooms that match their gender identity. So some of these kids have gone their entire careers in school using that restroom," Crow says.
Iowa lawmakers who supported the bill say the restrictions will protect the privacy and safety of students who may feel uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with transgender students.
There's no word on when Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will take action on the bill.