Gov. Kim Reynolds will propose a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to convicted felons in a Condition of the State address that highlights “the beauty of grace” and second chances. “Talk with someone who, by their own actions, hit rock bottom but decided to turn their life around,” Reynolds will say Tuesday, according to her prepared remarks, portions of which were shared exclusively with the Des Moines Register. “Watch their face light up when they tell you about the person who offered them a helping hand. … There are few things as powerful as the joy of someone who got a second chance and found their purpose.”
Reynolds will give the annual Condition of the State address to members of the Iowa Legislature at 10 a.m. Tuesday. It’s her first such address after being elected in November, and it represents a fresh start for Reynolds as she seeks to define her own agenda separate from former Gov. Terry Branstad.
The felon voting proposal, if approved, would overturn a ban on felon voting Branstad enacted through executive order in 2011 and would further distance Reynolds from her predecessor and mentor. She told the Register that her first 17 months in office after taking over for Branstad in 2017 were “a balance” between carrying forward his agenda and establishing herself as Iowa’s chief executive.