Mar 1, 2022 - News

Apple lobbies against Iowa's trans student athlete bill

Tim Cook and Kim Reynolds
Apple CEO Tim Cook, second to the left, and Gov. Kim Reynolds, second to the right, speak at the Iowa Capitol in 2017. Photo: Brian Powers/The Register via USA Today Network

Apple Inc. stands out as the sole private business that is lobbying against a Republican-backed Iowa bill that would ban transgender girls from competing in women's sports in school.

State of play: The company has remained relatively quiet about pushing against HF2416 — a bill that prohibits trans girls from participating in girl's K-12 or collegiate sports.

  • Lobbyists for the company haven't returned Axios' multiple calls for comment and none of the tech giant's representatives spoke at subcommittee meetings.

Yes, but: Apple is sending a clear "no" message in its filings, joining a sea of lobbyists representing more social justice-oriented groups in opposition.

The big picture: It's not the first time Apple has taken a stance on transgender issues. The tech giant was among the 50 companies that signed a letter back in 2018 opposing any effort by the former Trump administration to roll back trans rights.

Flashback: Republican leaders, including Gov. Kim Reynolds, lobbied hard in 2017 to attract Apple to build a more than $1 billion data center in Iowa.

  • Back then, Reynolds touted the company's planned facility, saying it "puts Iowa on the world stage."

What they're saying: If the trans athlete bill becomes law, it'll become more difficult for Iowa to attract a major company like Apple and their employees who are LGBTQ or care about the LGBTQ community, said Keenan Crow of One Iowa, an LGBTQ advocacy group.

Of note: The bill's floor manager, Republican Rep. Skyler Wheeler, didn't respond to a request for comment.

What's ahead: The bill, which passed the state House last month, must be approved by the Iowa Senate before it can be sent to the governor.

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