Iowa legislative session begins in Des Moines

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 7:32 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa legislative session began in Des Moines on Monday.

The day’s activities mostly centered on newly-elected officials getting sworn in and opening remarks. The party in control of both chambers has not change; Republicans still hold majorities in both the House and Senate.

The session comes in the wake of last week’s storming of our Nation’s Capitol, which is still fresh on the mind.

“Let me as the Majority Leader of the Iowa House stand here today and say I denounce it. Whether it was what happened in D.C. or the riots that happened over the summer, so you’ve got a leader standing here today to say it’s not okay,” Rep. Matt Windschitl (R-IA House District 17) said.

Leaders are hoping to be able to work out disagreements on policy, especially after a tense 2020 election cycle.

“We have to go into this knowing that we’re all adults, we’re all professionals. We want what’s best for the state of Iowa,” Rep. Eric Gjerde (D-IA House District 67) said.

During his opening remarks, Speaker of the House Pat Grassley suggested that lawmakers attempt to show an even temper while working through the state’s issues.

“Let’s show Iowans and the rest of the country that we can express our disagreements passionately and unequivocally without resorting to violence, aggression, or contempt,” Grassley said.

The pandemic response will be one of the main topics of discussion this session. With no mask mandate in place at the state capitol building, many chose not to wear a mask on Monday. Some lawmakers felt uncomfortable because of that. It’s a concern Gjerde, a first-term Democrat from Linn County, worries about moving forward.

“Right now, I’m afraid that without a mask mandate at the state capitol there will be a lot of folks that won’t feel like they can participate,” Gjerde said.

Leaders are hoping they can come together this session despite the obstacles that come with this polarizing time, balancing a pandemic with policy.

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