While the Legislature was not in session this week, things continued to evolve as state and national officials work to slow the spread of COVID-19. As legislators, we are continuing to work… answering emails from constituents, fielding phone calls from local officials, and keeping you all updated on what actions the state is taking to keep our families and communities safe and healthy.
Since the Legislature suspended its session, the Governor has exercised her emergency powers in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa. Among these orders includes the closing of businesses where people tend to congregate, such as bars and restaurants, entertainment venues, and salons and barbershops, among others. Many state departments have also taken action to help Iowans such as pushing back tax deadlines, extending unemployment benefits to workers impacts by COVID, and providing child care resources for parents working in essential industries.
While the Governor has not ordered a “shelter in place” or “stay at home” order, Iowans are encouraged to remain home and self-quarantine. This and other common sense practices like washing your hands, covering your sneezes and coughs, etc., will significantly help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Governor is also holding regular press conferences to keep the public informed on the state’s response. These press conferences are held at 2:30 pm, Sunday-Friday. Many TV news stations broadcast the press conference live or you can watch on the Governor’s Facebook page.
This is a difficult time for many small businesses so we must all do our part to show them our support. While restaurants are prohibited from dine-in customers, several are offering curbside and to-go orders. Other small businesses, like salons and retail stores, are selling gift cards and certificates that can be used once the Governor’s order is lifted.
As Iowans, we know how important it is to take care of our own. Let’s make sure we are supporting those who have supported us in the past!
Key Updates from the Week
Governor Announces Small Business Relief
This week, Governor Reynolds announced two rounds of assistance for small businesses who have been affected by COVID-19. They include:
- Iowa Small Business Relief Grants – Grant awards ranging from $5,000-$25,000 for businesses with between 2-25 employees. Applications due on March 31.
- Iowa Small Business Tax Deferral – The Iowa Department of Revenue is allowing sales/use and withholding tax deferral for businesses affected by COVID-19. Applications due on March 31.
- Targeted Small Business Sole Operator Relief Fund – Grant awards ranging from $5,000-$10,000 for sole proprietorship or single member LLCs that are also certified as Targeted Small Businesses. The business must have been in existence for 12 months prior to April 10, 2020.
More information and full eligibility requirements can be found at IowaBusinessRecovery.com.
Early Voting Extended for June Primary
Secretary of State Paul Pate has extended the absentee voting window from 29 to 40 days for the Primary Election that is scheduled to be held on June 2. The Secretary of State’s Office is encouraging Iowans to vote by mail beginning April 23. Iowans can already request absentee ballots.
To download your absentee ballot request form, visit the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.
Eviction and Foreclosure Protections
Through emergency orders, the Governor has temporarily suspended evictions for renters and foreclosures of residential, commercial, and agricultural real property. Individuals must continue to pay rent, mortgages, and leases, but they are protected from losing their homes while the proclamation is in place. For renters, a tenant who doesn’t pay rent is still subject to penalties listed in their lease agreements, and landlords can still add late charges and other financial penalties.
These are just a few of the issues that came across my desk this week. Things seem to be changing almost hourly at times. If you would like more detail on any of these issues or something else that you would like verification on don’t hesitate to contact me. I will be monitoring my email daily, if you have any questions or concerns please email or call my cell phone. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 319-480-1997.