Today Governor Kim Reynolds issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency. The declaration “takes significant steps to require social distancing and limit community spread of the virus by implementing temporary measures including moving restaurants to drive-through, carry-out, and delivery only and closures of certain entities such as bars and recreational facilities.”
I have issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency. These are unprecedented times and the state of Iowa will do whatever is necessary to address this public health disaster.
Read more here: https://t.co/gPL80DqAWo
— Gov. Kim Reynolds (@IAGovernor) March 17, 2020
Early in the morning, Tuesday, The Iowa Legislature passed a series of resolutions to pause the legislative session for 30 days. They waived the requirement for Iowa schools to reschedule days that are canceled following Governor Reynolds’ recommendation, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Legislature also permitted The Governor to spend up to 10% of the Economic Emergency Fund during these 30 days to address the needs arising from the virus.
The decision to pause session was difficult, but after many conversations with public health experts, I know it’s the right one. The last thing we want to do is put the public, press, staff or legislators at risk,” said Speaker Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford). “The additional tools that we have provided the Governor with tonight will ensure that she can effectively manage a rapidly changing situation. Iowans should know that they have a strong leader in Governor Reynolds and should feel confident in our state’s response to COVID-19.
Political campaigns are not exempt from the rules. Many are changing their approach in an effort to curb exposure to the novel Coronavirus and comply with restrictions imposed to prevent the virus’ spread. Several have released statements on the topic:
The Young for Iowa campaign issued this statement Tuesday morning:
The Young for Iowa campaign is continuously monitoring the latest developments with COVID-19 in Iowa and the nation. While we will continue David’s outreach to voters in Iowa’s Third District, we want to ensure we are taking all recommended precautions to do our part to help flatten the curve in the spread of this virus.
We are taking advantage of technologies and utilizing other ways of communicating with voters to make the case of supporting David. We are taking all in-person meetings and events on a case-by-case basis.
We all need to take the recommended precautions seriously to help ensure the health and welfare of Iowans during this challenging time. We encourage everyone to stay informed and take counsel from public health officials at the state and federal levels.
In an attempt to bring some positivity into the mix to counter the stress and panic being experienced by many, last evening, Senator Joni Ernst introduced the #MyCOVIDfive challenge on social media.
Many ppl in isolation due to #COVID19 could use help, or just someone to talk to.
I’m challenging everyone watching this to call or text 5️⃣ ppl to check in & make sure your neighbors & loved ones are doing okay.
— Joni Ernst (@joniernst) March 17, 2020
State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who severed for 3 years as the director of IDPH issued a lengthy statement yesterday and put out a video this afternoon:
A message from Dr. Miller-Meeks on the COVID-19 pandemic:
— Dr. Miller-Meeks (@millermeeks) March 17, 2020
Miller-Meeks campaign statement:
Our campaign will suspend a planned 24 county tour and scheduled fundraisers for the next 30 days to reduce group gatherings.
— Dr. Miller-Meeks (@millermeeks) March 16, 2020
Congressional candidate and current State Senator Randy Feenstra provided Iowa Field Report the following statement:
I pray as neighbors, Iowans, and Americans that we pull together and support one another. We are making state resources available to combat the virus as the Trump Administration’s recommendations are implemented. I’ll be available to be of assistance to anyone during these times and I’ll do everything in my power to help.
State Rep. Ashley Hinson put out this tweet on the suspended session and Covid-19
— Ashley Hinson (@hinsonashley) March 17, 2020
The state parties are adapting too. The Republican Party of Iowa provided this statement to Iowa Field Report today:
Due to revised recommendations from the CDC and IDPH, Iowa GOP has cancelled our Day on the Hill, and we’ve strongly encouraged county parties to cancel all central committee meetings or fundraisers for at least the next eight weeks. RPI will also be discussing changes to our district conventions and will announce those plans at a later date. We believe these steps are necessary to protect the health and safety of all Iowans during this pandemic, Spokesman Aaron Britt.
Yesterday, the Iowa GOP sent this email from Chairman Jeff Kaufmann to every county chair in the state.
Good afternoon —
There are a few items I’d like to address in light of recent developments regarding COVID-19. Please pass this information along to central committee members and necessary activists in your county.
- Since the legislature will be postponing session for 30 days, we are cancelling RPI Day on the Hill which was originally scheduled for Monday, March 23rd. Thank you to everyone who expressed interest, and we hope to make this popular event available again next year.
- Due to revised recommendations from the CDC, IDPH, and Governor Reynolds, we strongly recommend the cancellation of central committee meetings or fundraisers for at least the next eight weeks. This is important to protect yourself and those around you who might be more susceptible to illness.
- We’re working on a plan as to how we will conduct district conventions, which are scheduled for April 25th. We will keep you posted as details become available.
Finally, please keep Governor Reynolds, President Trump, and all of our elected officials, nurses, and doctors in your thoughts and prayers as they work tirelessly to address this pandemic. Like President Trump recently said, we will come out of this being stronger than ever before.
Feel free to reach out with any questions.
The Democratic Party of Iowa announced on March 13th that they would be postponing their county conventions scheduled for March 21st. Chairman Mark Smith released the following statement:
Today, the Iowa Democratic Party is announcing it will postpone County Conventions to a future date to be determined. After extensive consultation with County Chairs, the State Central Committee, party leaders, and public health officials, we have come to the determination that the spreading coronavirus poses a risk that outweighs a temporary delay in moving the caucus-to-convention process forward.
This is not an easy decision, but we believe it is the right decision. By their design, caucuses are gatherings built around a sense of community, and throughout every step, we have worked to ensure the process is safe and accessible for every Iowan. However, Iowa Democrats should not have to choose between democratic participation and remaining in good health, and concerns for the wellbeing of our delegates, thousands of volunteers, workers at convention venues, and the public come first.
It is in Democratic spirit that we will work together to find solutions. We are committed to being as transparent as possible going forward, and rest assured: Iowa will be heard at the DNC Convention.
Americans for Prosperity issued a statement Tuesday in support of some of Gov. Reynolds’ actions. Here is an excerpt of that statement:
While our hospitals are not currently experiencing a surge of new patients and other healthcare resources are capable of meeting today’s needs, Governor Reynolds’ executive order will position Iowa well if an outbreak is to take place. The key pieces of that executive order as it relates to preparing for expanded access include:
-Suspending Iowa’s Certificate of Need laws for expanded capacity. Without this move, healthcare providers would need to go through an extensive application process and receive state approval before adding beds and other equipment which could be necessary if patient numbers surge.
-Suspending regulations on the provision of telehealth and telemedicine. This will allow medical professionals to provide services to a larger number of patients while also limiting the potential spread of the virus which could result from traditional, in-person office visits.
-Temporarily permitting the practice of medical professionals with a lapsed or inactive license. Expanded bed counts and technology won’t matter if we don’t have the medical professionals in place to serve Iowans in the moment of need. This action will open the door to providers that have recently retired or have simply moved away from the care that they’ve been trained to provide, which could be critical as we stretch the bandwidth of our healthcare system.
You can read AFP’s full statement HERE
Editor’s note: More statements will be added to this post as they are provided. Send them to Info@fieldreportmedia.com