DES MOINES, Iowa – On Wednesday, Iowa House and Senate leadership announced the Iowa Legislature plans to reconvene on Wednesday, June 3 at 9:00 am. The Legislature previously suspended its session on March 16 as a precaution to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of legislators, staff, and the public.
“Suspending the Legislative session was necessary to ensure Iowa’s health care infrastructure was not overwhelmed,” Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, said. “It is now time for the Senate to resume its constitutional duty to represent the people of Iowa, implement policy priorities, and pass a conservative budget to fund the necessary functions of government.”
“Iowans have stepped up and done their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is because of these efforts that we can safely and responsibly reopen our communities and economy,” House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, said. “With the situation much improved, it is also time for the Legislature to return to Des Moines so we can complete our work. Once we return, I look forward to addressing the priorities of Iowans and passing a conservative and responsible state budget.”
While the public is encouraged to avoid the Capitol if possible, especially if they are a part of a vulnerable population, additional safety precautions will be taken to protect the health of people in the building when the Legislature reconvenes. These measures include:
- Encouraging members and staff to stay home if they are sick, have a fever or any symptoms, or have compromised immune systems
- They require staff members and the public to undergo a health screening before entering the Capitol.
- Recommending all individuals follow social distancing guidelines issued by the Department of Public Health
- Recommending the use of facemasks when unable to properly social distance, as recommended by the CDC. Facemasks will be provided to those who want one
- Deploying hand sanitizer stations throughout the Capitol, at entrances to the building, and the House and Senate chambers.
- Limiting individuals on the House and Senate floors to members and necessary staff as deemed appropriate by supervisors
Members of the press will be seated in a reserved section of the South Gallery in the Senate and the north gallery in the House. They are encouraged to practice proper social distancing among themselves. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. News organizations are strongly encouraged to limit their number of reporters each gallery to one per outlet.
Additionally, all House and Senate committee meetings will be held and livestreamed in their respective chamber to increase transparency and ensure Iowans can follow legislative business. For subcommittee meetings, members of the public will be strongly encouraged to submit written comments on legislation via the General Assembly’s website.
The Capitol building will be reopened to the public on Monday, May 18 with reduced hours (Monday-Saturday, 8:00 am-4:00 pm) and only the west entrance will be open. The Capitol is closed to tour groups. Individuals will be encouraged to maintain social distancing and refrain from gathering in groups of ten or more.
The Legislative Council will meet on Thursday, May 14 at 3:30 pm to vote to resume session on June 3.