Buckle up, friend — the Iowa legislature is moving fast.
When the Iowa legislature moved subcommittee and committee hearings online due to coronavirus, it looked like an opportunity to use technology to allow more Iowans to participate in the legislative process, despite the pandemic. The reality, though, has been less than fully open. On the Senate side, subcommittees, the primary place for Iowans to speak on a bill, are held online, and anyone in the public can "raise their hand" and speak — if they have a Zoom account. In House subcommittee hearings, though, only people in the room are allowed to speak and lawmakers are not considering written comments during the meeting. This means only opinions voiced in person are considered by lawmakers before they vote.
Limited public input combined with the rapid pace of legislating to date limits the range of ideas considered by lawmakers. Below are several issues at the Capitol you should know about and ways to make your thoughts known.