The Iowa Legislature reconvenes today (Thursday) in special session to vote on new maps that change the boundaries for Iowa congressional and legislative districts.
Republicans in the Iowa Senate rejected Plan 1 for redistricting, so the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency released a second set of maps last Thursday. If approved, Congresswomen Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican from Ottumwa, might wind up running against one another in 2022. Both live in the proposed third congressional district.
The maps for legislative districts show 58 members of the Iowa House and Senate live in the same district as at least one other incumbent. Republican legislative leaders have not indicated whether this second set of maps has majority support. Democrats, who hold a minority of the seats in the Iowa House and Senate, plan to vote for the new redistricting plan.
Some Republicans have been pressing for a vote today on legislation that would ban Covid-19 vaccine mandates. During the legislature’s October 5th special session, Representative Jon Jacobsen of Council Bluffs said the House needs to act this fall.
“People’s lives and livelihoods are on the line. A deliberative body should not be afraid of robust discussion and debate in the marketplace of ideas,” Jacobsen said. “…It’s even more important than plotting out reelection maps.”
Representative Sandy Salmon, a Republican from Janesville, has also been pressing for a vote. “I’ve gotten email after email,” Salmon said, “dozens of emails literally begging us to protect their freedom to be able to choose their own health care treatment and not risk losing their job.”
Representative Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights, the Democratic leader in the Iowa House, said today’s special session should focus on the redistricting plan and other issues should be addressed in 11 weeks when the 2022 legislature convenes.