Iowa Legislative Update—Jan. 12, 2021

Rural Health
Small Towns

By Cody Smith, former staff member

On Monday, Jan. 11, the Iowa Legislature gaveled in for the 2021 legislative session. As we have done for years, we remain committed to providing you with objective, fact-based updates on the legislation that will impact the lives of rural Iowans.

As always, we are here to listen and engage with you about the issues that matter most to you. If you have feedback on our priorities or other issues you’d like to engage with us on, let us know.

With your support, we can make this legislative session one where the voices of rural Iowans are elevated, heard, and play an instrumental role in building a more vibrant rural Iowa. 

Thank you for your commitment to rural Iowa.

Operational Rule Changes

This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature has adopted a unique set of operational rules that have opened up much of their activity to be viewed virtually, though the Capitol building will remain open to the public. A few of the notable rule changes include: 

In the Iowa Senate:

  • Subcommittees will be held via Zoom. Information will be included in the subcommittee notice, which will be published at least the day before the subcommittee is scheduled. Members of the public may comment during the Zoom subcommittee meeting or provide written comments on legislation via the General Assembly’s website.
  • All committee meetings will be livestreamed on the Legislature's website and archived under that specific committee and the south gallery will remain open to the public.
  • Full rules can be found here.

In the Iowa House:

  • All subcommittee meetings will be streamed live via Webex. The Webex link will be provided on the subcommittee meeting notice.
  •  Members of the public are strongly encouraged to submit written comments on legislation via the General Assembly’s website for House subcommittee meetings.
  • Full rules can be found here.

Our Rural Agenda

As we look forward to a legislative session that will look different, the Center will relentlessly pursue an agenda that improves the livelihood and prosperity of Iowa’s rural communities. With your help, we will be working to achieve state support for locally-directed watershed improvement efforts, support for renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar, and promote economic development across rural parts of our state. You can view our full legislative agenda here

Resources for Engaging with the Legislature

We encourage you to be involved in the legislative process by communicating with your representatives about issues that are important to you. Last week during our live “Rural Rapport,” we offered some tips for engaging with your legislators and also recorded a quick tutorial on how to navigate the state’s legislative website. You can find those videos below. If you don’t know who your legislators are, you can find them here.

How to be a rural advocate
Engaging with the Iowa Legislature