Capitol Report -- May 10

May 11, 2020

By: Paula S. Dierenfeld, Katie Graham

New Day Coming. On Wednesday, May 6, Governor Kim Reynolds signed her twelfth proclamation in response to the coronavirus. This proclamation, like the two issued the week before, continues to open up some businesses and public facilities in the state, most on a limited basis. Dental offices can now re-open, as can campgrounds, drive-in movie theatres, tanning facilities and medical spas across the state. The restrictions on malls and fitness facilities that were eased in 77 counties last week, have now been extended to the other 22 counties, subject to capacity limitations. All must comply with the strict social distancing requirements, including the cars at the drive-in movie theatres… no kidding.


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Imagine All the People… Getting Haircuts, at the same time! This coming Friday, May 15, could be a game-changer in COVID-19 playbook. That’s the date by which the legislature must decide if it is going to continue suspending the 2020 legislative session. It is also the date the Governor’s orders to close many of the still-shuttered retail establishments, like bars, theatres, salons and barbershops, is set to expire. Restaurants in Iowa’s most populous counties could re-open to dine-in service by the end of the week if action is not taken to keep them closed. Expect big announcements from Governor Reynolds and legislative leadership as the May 15 deadline approaches.


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If You Don’t’ Vote, Don’t …  And it’s never been easier. The June 2nd Primary Elections are just around the corner. A list of candidates whose names will appear on the ballot can be found here, including those competing in primary contests for six Iowa Senate seats and 14 Iowa House seats. A record number of Iowans are expected to vote by absentee due to concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus. In-person absentee voting at the county auditors’ offices and voting at a limited number of polling locations on Primary Election Day will also be available. To request an absentee ballot request form or to get more information about the June 2nd Primary Elections, check out the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.


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Final Words. On re-opening, Governor Reynolds was quoted this past week saying “Just as we can't stop the virus completely, we also can't keep businesses closed and our lives restricted indefinitely. Business owners will decide whether the time is right to reopen their doors, just as Iowans choose whether or not they will resume some of their normal activities.”