The 89th Iowa General Assembly is set to begin on schedule next Monday, Jan. 11. One difference in procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic is that committee and subcommittee meetings will be livestreamed. Legislative leadership is suggesting that members of the public should conduct business with legislators and staff via phone, email, or text to limit personal contact.

Subcommittee meetings are the only time during the official legislative process that members of the public are allowed to speak on a bill. Perhaps streaming might allow for better input from around the state?

For reference, here’s the switchboard numbers to leave a message for your legislator: Iowa House is 515-281-3221, Iowa Senate is at 515-281-3371. You can find out who your legislator is at www.iowacatholicconference.org/voter-voice.

On Jan. 12, Gov. Kim Reynolds is scheduled to present her budget and the “Condition of the State” message to the Legislature. The Condition of the Judiciary and Condition of the National Guard speeches are also scheduled for next week.

You can find a copy of the Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC) legislative principles and concerns on our website. Among the issues that ICC staff plans to address with legislators are additional state support for parental choice in education, legislation to protect the economic and physical security of workers, racial profiling and a proposal to clarify that Iowa’s Constitution does not contain a right to an abortion.

As the 2021 legislative session begins, please take some time to pray for legislators and their families. Particularly during a pandemic, it is difficult for them to be away from their families during the week.