Democratic lawmakers today proposed changes to House rules to make the Iowa legislature safer and more transparent to the general public.

“There’s no need to put the public, lawmakers, or employees at higher risk because House Republican leadership chooses to ignore public health guidelines. Everyone in the Capitol should be wearing a mask, just as every other public building in state government does. There are simple, common sense steps Republicans should take to make state government more transparent while keeping everyone safe,” said Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Brian Meyer of Des Moines.

In the House Administration & Rules Committee on Tuesday, Democrats offered changes to proposed House Rules that would allow the public to participate virtually in subcommittees, as well as add a requirement that masks be worn in the State Capitol to keep all Iowans safe. Both proposals were voted down on party line votes.

“The inadequate protocols developed by Republican leaders make it too difficult for Iowans to make their voice heard. Instead of making the Legislature a super spreader event, Republicans need to let the public give virtual comments during the subcommittee process, not just watch online,” added Meyer. “If Senate Republicans can do it, they can do it in the House.”

The bill, House Study Bill 48, now goes to the House Floor.