Census results show Iowa keeping all four congressional seats
Iowa will retain all four of its seats in the U.S. House after preliminary data from the 2020 Census show Iowa with modest population growth of 3.6 %.
As more detailed Census data is released, Iowa lawmakers will be required to vote on new congressional and legislative districts that become effective for the 2022 election. Iowa has an often-praised, nonpartisan process for drawing new political maps. Most of the work is left to computers, which will draw new district lines to create 50 Iowa Senate and 100 Iowa House seats, along with four districts for U.S. Congress.
The Des Moines and Iowa City metro areas had the fastest growth in population and are expected to gain new legislative seats, while most rural parts of the state continue to lose residents.
The House and Senate voted this week to ban businesses from requiring people to have proof of a COVID vaccination to enter. State and local governments also would be banned from issuing IDs that note whether someone has been vaccinated.
The bill’s backers say it is un-American to require a vaccine or restrict where people can go. Disagreement on the legislation has centered on whether hospitals and healthcare facilities should be exempt, allowing them the flexibility to require proof of vaccination for patients and visitors. The Senate will likely debate the measure early next week.
Governor signs broadband expansion bill
The state will direct $100 million over three years to expand broadband capacity, a particular interest for rural areas of the state without access to fast, reliable internet service.
Gov. Kim Reynolds held a formal bill signing ceremony in the State Capitol Rotunda Wednesday attended by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers who approved the legislation. Reynolds initially requested $150 million for the effort but said additional federal dollars will likely be available to round out the rest of the initiative.
The lack of high-speed internet in many areas of the state was underscored this year when employees transitioned to remote work and students shifted to online learning. Even before the pandemic, underserved rural residents and businesses have pushed for broadband in their communities, calling it an economic development and quality of life necessity.