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GOP-led Iowa House Rules Committee rejects mask mandate

DES MOINES — Republicans on an Iowa House Committee have approved 82 rules for how the House operates, but they’ve rejected a rule requiring face masks be worn during the pandemic.

Representative Brian Meyers, a Democrat from Des Moines, said wearing masks inside the Capitol is common sense.

“This should not be controversial. I’m not sure why this is controversial,” Meyers said late Tuesday during a House Rules Committee meeting. “A lot of businesses require it. A lot of state government requires it.”

Republicans on the panel ejected a mask mandate for the Capitol, but 69-year-old Representative Cecil Dolecheck , a Republican from Mount Ayr, said during a subcommittee meeting that he thinks face coverings are “appropriate” and he’ll be wearing one in the Capitol.

“It seems to be a part of contention that really shouldn’t be,” Dolecheck said after the House Rules Committee had voted. “I hope everyone during this pandemic wears a mask and does their part to mitigate the spread.”

Dolecheck is from Ringgold County, the state’s second-smallest, population-wise. It currently has the highest 14-day Covid positivity rate of any county in the state and, according to the state’s coronavirus tracking website, nine residents of Ringgold County have died of Covid.

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