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Local lawmakers reflect on 2020 Iowa Legislative Session

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV)- Lawmakers had a lot of work ahead of them in a short amount of time after returning to the state capitol in Des Moines to resume the legislative session after the COVID-19 pandemic halted it this spring.

One topic- was new voter verification steps for casting an absentee ballot.

Democratic Representative Chris Hall says this will make voting more difficult.

"They advanced legislation that will make it harder for people to request an absentee ballot and vote from the comfort and privacy of their own home," said Rep. Chris Hall, (D) Sioux City. "At a time that many Iowans would prefer to do so in order to stay safe. No matter the outcome, or the politics of it, we should want them to participate and have the ability without any barriers."

While Republican Representative Jacob Bossman says he's in favor of the new requirements.

"I believe that it's not the voter suppression issue that a lot of the people on the other side are making it out to be," said Rep. Jacob Bossman, (R) Sioux City. "It's required on there that says that you have to provide either your driver's license number or your voter pin. If you don't fill it out completely and correctly, then somebody from the auditor's office has to call you back, or email you or send you a letter and get that information from you."

Iowa lawmakers also approved a 24-hour waiting period for abortions.

The decision was made during an overnight session on the final weekend of the legislative session.

"To pass something in the wee hours of the night and the final day of the legislative session that has a real impact on women in this state is doing them a disservice," said Rep. Hall. "And it also- regardless of a strong opinion on either side- it's not how the government is supposed to run."

"It was another thing that came over at the end and obviously that's not the way I'd like to govern," said Rep. Bossman. "But at the same time, I don't believe that this is an extreme measure that a lot of people are making it out to be either. I think there are 31 states in the country that have some type of waiting period. I don't think it will be a burden on people or prevent people from getting needed healthcare."

The bill now goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Justice Reform Bill:

Lawmakers also passed a new justice reform bill. The Iowa House passed the bill on a vote of 98-0. The Iowa Senate approved the same bill on a 49-0 vote.

The bill allows Iowa's Attorney General to investigate deaths caused by a law enforcement officers.

It also prohibits most chokeholds.

The bill also states that officers, who have been fired for misconduct, would not be allowed to work as officers in the state. Governor Reynolds signed the bill into law the same day it passed both chambers.

Jennifer Lenzini

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