Iowa lawmakers convene for legislative session without requirement of masks

Brett Bachtle
Created: January 11, 2021 06:28 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Lawmakers in Iowa have returned to the state capitol for the start of the 2021 legislation session.

For the next few months, legislators from across the state will gather at the capitol in Des Moines to put together legislation on behalf of their constituents.

“It’s good to get back to work and get focused on what we should be doing for the state of Iowa,” said State Representative from Mason City Sharon Steckman.

Upon arrival, lawmakers were met by a crowd of protestors in the rotunda.

“I believe they were the anti-vaxxers and the anti-mask group,” Steckman said.

While the protests remained peaceful, security was heightened after what happened at the nation’s capital last week. Steckman says there was heavier than normal presence of state troopers, including extra in lot where legislators park.

State Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City also noticed the additional law enforcement.

“There was quite a bit more security just because of all the things that’ve happened in the past week. I suspect that that will be the condition for awhile,” said Ragan.

Ragan says the demonstrators don’t usually bother lawmakers, but she felt uneasy on opening day after seeing many without masks.

However, protestors weren’t the only ones going unmasked. Face coverings were not required on the chamber floor. With legislators gathering from all corners of the state, some shared concerns about their colleagues potentially spreading the virus.

“I feel like we’re in a little petri dish right now,” Steckman said. “I don’t want to bring anything home to my family, so I’m going to be cautious.”

“It’s good to get back and going, but I really do feel that there should have been a few more safety precautions for the health of our members,” said Ragan.

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