Iowa legislature returns for start of 2021 session

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 12:34 AM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KWQC) - Iowa lawmakers returned to the statehouse on Monday for the start of the 2021 legislative session.

Members were sworn in, including Republican Rep. Pat Grassley who returned as Speaker of the Iowa House, a position he was first selected for in 2019.

“In everything we do this session, we must remember we work for Iowans, no the other way around,” he said in his opening remarks after being sworn in by his grandfather, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, “We are entering this session more prepared. Iowans expect us to be here to do the job we’ve promised to do and ensuring transparency in the process was top of mind as we prepared to begin the 2021 session.”

Speaker Grassley said priorities this session include responsible budgeting and tax cuts, in-person learning for Iowa students amid the COVID-19 pandemic -- something Gov. Kim Reynolds has advocated for, and increased access to childcare.

“As I prepared for session, I can tell you almost every meeting I had regardless what part of the state they were from, or what political party they may affiliate with... the need to increase access to safe, affordable childcare needs to be a priority of this legislature,” Grassley said.

In opening remarks, Democrat House Minority leader Todd Prichard said COVID-19 response should be the state’s top priority this session, with over 4,000 deaths from the disease statewide.

“Our state’s response has been grossly inadequate. Next, we need a robust COVID package focused on longterm recovery efforts to help our economy. We need aggressive plans to help families recover, get kids back to school safely, reopen small businesses, and support dedicated healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of this pandemic,” Rep. Prichard said.

The opening of this session brings lawmakers back in session for the first time since June.

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