One week ago today, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds made national news when she publicly endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for President of the United States.
But as most of our readers know, The Iowa Standard started to focus on state-level politics. And there was something Reynolds mentioned that might have been overlooked.
For years, The Iowa Standard has expressed a desire for the state legislature to reform the Governor’s emergency powers. As we drift further away from the COVID experience, so do the memories — and unfortunately, the facts.
Remember, it was a July 28 post on Facebook in which Reynolds claimed that “when the rest of the country shut businesses down, Iowa stayed open!”
So we published a timeline that detailed Reynolds shutting down Iowa schools, businesses, churches and limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people.
Since COVID, we have been waiting for the legislature to address the restrictions that were put in place on some of Iowans’ most basic, fundamental freedoms.
Three years later, we are still waiting for the Republican-controlled Iowa legislature to prove it actually prizes our liberties and seeks to maintain our rights.
Sources have told The Iowa Standard on numerous occasions that Reynolds doesn’t want the legislature to do anything regarding the emergency powers. Initially, it was due to her re-election in 2022. Then in 2023, it was that she wanted to lead on it.
We’re not sure what the excuse not to act in 2024 will be — perhaps that it is an election year — but we are pretty positive the time for inaction should be over.
Why? Because Gov. Reynolds said so herself, sort of, in her endorsement of DeSantis…
“While COVID might seem like a thing of the past and that it’s behind us — and believe me, we hope it is — we should not and we cannot forget because it showed us how our leaders respond to a true crisis,” Reynolds said. “And more importantly, it tells us how they’ll respond to the next one. And there will be a next one.”
Reynolds acknowledged the pressure to shut down, shelter-in-place and keep kids out of school was “unbelievable.”
“And it came from every corner, even from the White House,” she said. “You know, most leaders, they buckled under that pressure. They listened to Fauci instead of the real science. But there was one man running for President who did not — Ron DeSantis.”
She’s right. There will be a next one. And the precedent she set was that the governor has the authority to order schools, businesses and churches closed. She set a precedent that funerals and weddings that include 10 or more guests cannot happen. She set a precedent that the government can determine what is essential and what is not essential.
Look, there are plenty of people willing to give her a pass because of the unknowns related to COVID at the time.
But we are now nearly four years removed. And what is beyond obvious is that no one person in any state — let alone this state that supposedly prizes our liberties and maintains our rights — should have the power to do such things unilaterally.
If Gov. Reynolds will not do it, then it is incumbent upon the “freedom-loving” legislators in the Iowa House and Iowa Senate to get it done.
We don’t know what will happen in the future.
Republicans have guaranteed full control for one more year in Iowa. It’s time they use it to safeguard the liberties and the rights of Iowans.
If Reynolds meant what she said last week, she’ll be glad to join them in doing so.
Iowans who want to register an opinion with Reynolds’ office on the effort to reform the governor’s emergency powers can do so by calling 515-281-5211.