DES MOINES, Iowa — After being on hiatus since mid-March the state legislative session resumes Wednesday and the House floor will look a bit different.
Employees who come to the Capitol will be subjected to daily screenings, PPE and hand sanitizer will be available, and there will be limitations on who is allowed in the Senate and House chambers. There will also be a live stream of the session for those who aren’t able to make it to the Capitol.
Starting Wednesday lawmakers will have a three day week to wrap up the policies they’ve been working on and the session currently does not have an end date.
Minority leader in the Senate, Todd Pritchard, said that Democrats’ mission is to make sure the state is responding to the coronavirus in a clear, transparent, and accountable way.
For the party, that means guaranteeing unemployment benefits remain available, confirming that public schools have the necessary resources to serve the needs of students, and providing healthcare for those who need it in all 99 counties of Iowa.
“Keeping Iowans healthy, ensuring that there’s access to healthcare, including mental health services,” Pritchard said. “Making sure that there’s access to free testing so that people have peace of mind of what their status with the virus is and they can have that confidence that they’re either negative or they can take appropriate action if they have a positive test.”
The Republican caucus’ mission has always been to focus on Iowa’s economy. Right now that includes centering their attention on the state’s budget and unemployment. Majority leader, Senator Whitver, said before the pandemic the state had the lowest unemployment rate it had ever seen and they’re hoping to help people get back to work.
“One of the things that a lot of people are asking about whether it’s churches or schools or businesses is some sort of assurance that they’re not going to get sued when they open back up,” Sen. Whitver said. “So we’re looking at potential protections for all of those different entities so that if they do open back up, they’re not going to face frivolous lawsuits.”