Iowa’s 2021 legislative session is convening in the middle of a pandemic.
While the Republicans in charge of the legislature are strongly encouraging people in the Capitol to wear face coverings, they will not be required to.
Legislators and others who work in the building are expected to report to a superior if they have Covid, but not required to do so.
Republican House Speaker Pat Grassley says the state constitution does not give him “special power” to prevent duly elected legislators to come onto the House floor.
Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says those who don’t wear a mask or socially distance run the risk of having to quarantine or forcing the entire session to be shut down.
Democrats are requiring face masks in their private meetings.
Today (Monday), some Democrats will take their oaths of office in another location in the Capitol rather than on the House floor.
House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City says the coronavirus is still very active in the general population.
The 100 members of the Iowa House and 25 newly-elected members of the Iowa Senate will be sworn in, with one senate seat vacant.
Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa resigned her Ottumwa-area state senate seat shortly before she was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House.
A special election to fill that state senate seat is scheduled for late this month.