On Monday, Waterloo City Councilmember Margaret Klein introduced a failed motion to rescind the Waterloo Ban the Box law. Klein, who opposes Ban the Box and believes it violates Iowa law, sought to avoid litigation costs and permanently deprive Waterloo citizens with conviction records the right to find employment fairly. Fortunately, she was soundly defeated when no other council members seconded her motion, which prevented the devastating effects of her motion from being realized.
After suffering an embarrassing legislative rebuff, Councilmember Klein begged for yet more time to debate her failed motion. Rather than waste taxpayers’ resources on meaningless debate, other, more reasonable, City Councilmembers objected as they viewed the Ban the Box law as indispensable legislation and legally sound. “We talked this and talked this and talked this,” said Waterloo Councilmember Patrick Morrissey, “We amended it and amended it.”
Councilmember Klein’s sloppy effort to repeal a the widely supported Waterloo Ban the Box law cost Waterloo taxpayers thousands of dollars. Although Councilmember Klein’s failed motion suffered defeat, the fight for Ban the Box in Iowa continues.
In 2019, the City of Waterloo, Iowa, became ground zero in the fight for Ban the Box. After the Waterloo City Council passed the City’s vital Ban the Box law, business leaders launched an unprecedented and vicious legal assault on the law passed to protect thousands of Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens. The lawsuit, filed by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, seeks an injunction to block Waterloo Ban the Box enforcement. The organization believes the law violates a 2017 Iowa law prohibiting cities from adopting ordinances that conflict with federal or state hiring practices. Previously, an misinformed Iowa state politician publicly lied about the Ban the Box law. With the local business community’s stance on the law likely to remain unchanged indefinitely, Iowa will continue to be at the forefront of the fight for Ban the Box.