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Government & Public Policy Information

As governments respond to the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), The Partnership continues to monitor the status at all levels in an effort to keep our Members, Investors and the community updated. We’ve compiled the updates and resources available.

Federal  |  State  |  Local

Federal

White House Press Conferences streaming: whitehouse.gov/live

  • U.S.-Canadian border closed for non-essential traffic on March 18
  • U.S.-Mexico border closed for non-essential traffic on March 20

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates: cdc.gov/coronavirus

  • Social distance from a minimum of 6 feet
  • Use of a simple cloth-based covering when going into public

U.S. Housing and Urban Development updates: hud.gov/coronavirus

U.S. Small Business Administration updates: sba.gov/coronavirus

  • The State of Iowa is working with small businesses through each of the 99 counties to draw down funding for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. A link to request assistance can be found here
  • The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll, information can be found here
  • The SBA offers low-interest federal disaster loans to certain private nonprofit organizations following a federal disaster declaration for public assistance. Learn more here

U.S. Department of Education updates: ed.gov/coronavirus

  • Waiving federal student loan interest
  • Federal student loan payments suspended through Dec. 31

U.S. Department of Treasury updates: treasury.gov/coronavirus

  • Allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest
  • Allows corporate taxpayers a similar deferment of up to $10 million of federal income tax payments that would be due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest
  • Federal tax deadline delayed until July 15, 2020
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) FAQ answered here
  • Track the status of your stimulus check from the IRS here

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updates: uscis.gov/coronavirus

  • Adopting a new measure to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDS) dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020
  • Any responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response deadline set forth in the RFE or NOID will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken

U.S. Department of State updates: state.gov/coronavirus

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT): transportation.gov

  • The deadline of Oct. 1 to obtain a Real ID has been postponed until Sep. 30, 2021

U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (EPA): epa.gov/coronavirus

  • The EPA has issued a temporary policy regarding reinforcement of environmental legal obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic for civil violations only, with variances depending on category.

Congressional updates: congress.gov

  • The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074) passed the U.S. House on March 4, the U.S. Senate on March 5 and signed by President Trump on March 6. The $8.3 billion legislative package does the following: 
    • $7.8 billion will be used to bolster vaccine development, research, medical equipment stockpiles and for state and local health budgets
    • $500 million will be used for telehealth medicine
    • $20 million for SBA loans and $20 million for SBA operations
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) passed the U.S. House on March 14, the U.S. Senate on March 18 and was signed by President Trump on March 18. The legislation does the following:
  1. Provides supplemental funding for nutrition assistance through USDA programs SNAP, WIC and the Emergency Food Assistance Program along with U.S. Department of Human Services programs to provide nutrition assistance to the elderly population
  2. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires certain businesses to develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect health care workers
  3. Establishes a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payments to employees taking unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak
  4. Expands unemployment benefits and provides grants to states for processing and paying claims
  5. Requires employers (fewer than 500 employees) to provide paid sick leave to employees (applies April 1 - Dec. 31, 2020)
    1. Up to two weeks (80 hours, or part-time employee's two-week equivalent) of paid sick leave
    2. 100% of pay (up to $511 daily) for Federal, State or Local quarantined isolation order due to COVID-19. Or advised by health provider to self-quarantine. Or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis
    3. 67% of pay (up to $220 daily) for caring of individual affected by COVID-19 symptoms or quarantined
    4. Up to 12 weeks of paid leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at 67% (up to $200 daily) if caring for child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19
  6. Establishes requirements for providing coronavirus diagnostic testing at no cost to consumers
  7. Treats personal respiratory protective devices as covered countermeasures that are eligible for certain liability protections
  8. Temporarily increases the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP)
  • The third phase of Coronavirus aid legislation, “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act” (S. 3548) was signed into law on March 27. A summary of the legislation, provided by the U.S. Chamber can be found here.
    • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): a new $349 billion loan program established to support and encourage employers to keep employees on the payroll to receive loan forgiveness. Businesses under 500 employees, including sole proprietors, self-employed, independent contractors and 501c3 organizations are eligible.
      • Paycheck Protection Program FAQ answered here
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs): this existing loan program is expanded to nonprofits, including 501(c)(6) organizations, for loans limited to $2 million and personal guarantee requirements waived for $200,000 or less. Includes an optional $10,000 forgivable cash advance and can be used for payroll, paid leave, continuation of health care benefits, operating costs such as utilities, mortgage and rent payments among other obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses.
    • Additional $17 billion for current SBA loans to cover six months of payment
    • $500 billion for loan programs and Federal Reserve credit facilities, including but not limited to air carriers, air maintenance, cargo air carriers and business critical to national security. Businesses, states and municipalities that meet the requirements may be eligible.
    • Direct payments to taxpayers equal to $1,200 per individuals ($2,400 joint return) plus $500 per child, phased out for incomes above $75,000 ($150,000 joint).
    • Extends unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and includes a four-month enhancement of benefits. State have the option to agree to an additional $600 per worker, per week unemployment compensation payment. Additionally, unemployment insurance benefits were extended to sole proprietors, self-employed and independent  contractors.
  • The U.S. Senate amended H.R. 266 on April 21, providing $484 billion in additional appropriations into the following programs and became law on April 24. A summary of the legislation, provided by CNBC can be found here.
    • $310 billion in additional lending authority for the Paycheck Protection Program with some funds set aside to support loans issued by smaller lenders
    • $60 billion for separate disaster loans to small businesses
    • $75 billion for hospitals
    • $25 billion for virus testing
  • U.S. House Democrats passed The Heroes Act (H.R. 6800), a $3 trillion piece of legislation that includes funding for state and local governments, additional direct stimulus checks, and amends portions of the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, among other proposals. More info here.

  • Congress has passed legislation (H.R. 7010) to allow for flexibility of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), containing the following provisions:

    • Extends the eight-week period, during which PPP funds must be spent in order to receive loan forgiveness, to 24 weeks or until the end of the year, whichever comes first.
    • Provides additional flexibility for for the use of PPP funds, requiring a minimum of 60% to be spent on payroll costs and up to 40% spent on other approved non-payroll expenses such as mortgage, rent and utilities in order to achieve forgiveness.
    • Businesses have up to five years, instead of two, to repay any money owed on PPP loans.
    • Extends safe harbor provisions specific to rehiring, noting the inability to rehire and/or the inability to return to the same level of business activity due to public health related restrictions.

State

Governor Reynolds declared the initial State of Public Health Disaster Emergency on March 17

  • Launched a website, Test Iowa, dedicated to Iowa's new initiative on COVID-19 testing here
  • The state has released a COVID-19 dashboard here
  • Allowing elective medical surgeries starting on April 27
  • Starting on May 15, the following will open with restrictions statewide. More info here.
    • Restaurants
    • Malls
    • Fitness Centers
    • Salons
    • Barbershops
    • Tanning Facilities
    • Massage Therapy
    • Tattoo Establishments
    • Campgrounds
    • Race Tracks
    • Libraries
    • Drive-In Theaters
    • Social and Fraternal Clubs
    • Other Retail Establishments
    • Starting on May 22, the following will open with restrictions statewide. More info here.
      • Movie Theaters
      • Zoos
      • Museums
      • Aquariums
      • Reception Venues
      • State Park Amenities
      • Pools (lap and swimming lessons)
    • The following venues are closed through May 27 in select counties. More info here.
    • Casinos and Gaming Facilities
    • Senior Citizen Centers and Adult Daycare Facilities
    • All Mass Gathering (including but not limited to parades, festivals, conventions, fundraisers, sporting events, etc.)
    • Bowling Alleys and Pool Halls
    • Arcades
    • Amusement Parks
    • Playgrounds
    • Tobacco and Vape stores
    • Bingo halls
    • Skating Rinks and Skate Parks
    • Outdoor/Indoor Playgrounds and Children's Play Centers
    • Toy, Music, Gaming, Instrument and Movie Stores
    • Allowed to open state with restrictions on May 28
      • Bars
      • Wineries
      • Distilleries
    • Allowed to open statewide with restrictions on June 1
      • Speedways and Race Tracks (can open to spectators)
      • Outdoor Performance Venues (such as amphitheaters and grandstands)
      • Casino and Gaming Facilities
      • Bowling Alleys and Pool Halls
      • Arcades
      • Amusement Parks
      • All Sports Gatherings for Children, Adults
      • Outdoor Playgrounds
      • Skating Rinks and Skate Parks
      • Bingo Halls
    • Allowed to open statewide with restrictions on June 12
      • Indoor Performance Theaters and Venues
      • Senior Citizen Centers
      • Adult Daycare Facilities

    Local Action Tracker

    • The National League of Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies have teamed up to collect and share actions taken by local leaders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. View here.

    Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) updates: idph.iowa.gov

    • There are currently 103,274 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa as of Oct. 15. 

    Iowa Economic Development Authority updates: iowaeconomicdevelopment.com

    • The application for deferral of the eligible taxes and waiver of penalty and interest remins open, apply here
    • A fund has been created to support Targeted Small Businesses (TSB) with zero employees that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, apply here
    • Questions can be sent to businessrecovery@iowaeda.com

    Iowa Utilities Board updates: iub.iowa.gov

    • All electric and natural gas utilities to cease disconnection of residential service due to nonpayment until May 31
    • All other utilities, including water and sewer, encouraged to follow similar policy

    Iowa Department of Revenue updates: tax.iowa.gov

    • State tax filing deadlines extended to July 31
    • No late-filing or underpayment penalties will be due for qualifying taxpayers who comply with the extended filing and payment deadlines

    Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) updates: news.iowadot.gov

    • The Iowa DOT has suspended rules on drivers’ license and vehicle registration renewal
    • Commercial Driver's Licesnse (CDL) holders in Iowa who have an expired medical examiner's certificate or a certificate that is about to expire will not have their CDL downgraded at this time
    • Any driver license that expired after Jan. 16 or later will not be enforced during this emergency period
    • The deadline of Oct. 1 to obtain a Real ID has been postponed until Sep. 30, 2021

    Iowa Board of Regents updates: iowaregents.edu

    • Each university (Iowa State University, University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa) outlined their procedures for returning to campus here.

    Iowa Department of Human Rights updates: humanrights.iowa.gov

    • Extended the application period for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) through May 31, 2020, apply here

    Iowa Secretary of State updates: sos.iowa.gov

    • Closed their office through Oct. 28
    • The office is directing customers to their online filing system, Fast Track Filing (FTF)
    • Iowans can vote by mail beginning April 23. Iowans can request an absentee ballot from their county auditor now for the General Election
    • Temporary authorization of remote notarization
    • Mailing out absentee ballot request form for the General Election to every registered voter in Iowa

    Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) updates: iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov

    • Accepting applications for CARES Act benefits and will be processed as soon as IWD receives guidance from the federal government
    • Self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees and gig economy workers or requesting an extension of benefits and are not currently filing weekly claims, please submit your initial application now
    • Iowans will no longer have to use all paid leave before being eligible for unemployment benefits

    Iowa Economic Development updates: iowaeconomicdevelopment.com

    • Iowans can apply online for relief through IEDA's "Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program" here

    The Iowa General Assembly updates: legis.iowa.gov

    • Legislators can be reached via email during this time; contact information can be found here
    • Following #ialegis on Twitter is a tool to keep tabs on legislative news
    • Prior to the legislative suspension, Senate File 2408 was passed and signed by Governor Reynolds on March 17; the legislation does the following:
    1. Provided a supplemental appropriation to the State Hygienic Laboratory for additional COVID-19 testing
    2. Appropriated additional money for Medicaid, Hawk-I and the Glenwood Resource Center
    3. Increases the Governor’s transfer authority to move money between budget items as necessary
    4. Allows the Governor to access up to 10% of the Economic Emergency Fund while session is suspended for needs related to COVID-19
    5. A waiver of the 180-day school year requirement for this year
    6. State program funding at last year's levels for the first two months of FY 2021 (July and August) if the legislature is unable to pass a budget before end of fiscal year on June 30

    Iowa Attorney General updates: iowaattorneygeneral.gov/newsroom

    • Iowans should be aware of scams related to price gouging, bogus treatments, phishing or charity scams or investment fraud
    • Iowa Legal Aid resources and FAQ can be found here
    • Reporting of such scams can be emailed to consumer@ag.iowa.gov
    • State of Iowa legal aid question hotline (800) 332-0419

    Local

    County government updates on COVID-19 can be found at the following sites:

    Because of COVID-19, cities in Greater Des Moines (DSM) are closing their offices and other city facilities to in-person visits and encouraging residents to use online features. Each city is providing services such as police and fire protection. City government updates on COVID-19 can be found at the following sites:

    Adel

    • City buildings are closed
    • Utility payments can be made online or over the phone with transaction fees waived

    Altoona

    • City buildings are closed
    • Residents and developers can file building permits and water bill payments online

    Ankeny

    • All Ankeny’s city offices and public facilities will be closed
    • Encourages residents to wear masks in public
    • City has suspended rental inspections; fire department inspections; and police fingerprinting
    • Parks and trails are open

    Bondurant

    • City buildings are closed
    • Utility payments can be made online or over the phone or check dropped in the drop box outside of city hall
    • Parks are open

    Carlisle

    • City buildings are closed
    • Residents are encouraged to use drop box near in parking area east of Police Department
    • Parks are open

    Clive

    • Playgrounds are open
    • Parks are open

    Des Moines

    • Mayor Cownie declared a state of emergency on March 15, which has since been updated to follow CDC guidelines of no gatherings of 10 or more people
    • City buildings are closed
    • Des Moines police officers will resume parking meter enforcement on June 1
    • Masks required in all city buildings
    • Masks required in public spaces

    Grimes

    • Utility payments can be made online, over the phone, or check dropped off at utility payment dropbox outside of city hall

    Grinnell

    • City buildings are closed
    • City parks are open

    Indianola

    • City buildings are closed
    • Contact city officials via phone or email

    Johnston

    • Mayor Dierenfeld declared a state of emergency on March 18
    • City Hall is closed

    Norwalk

    • City buildings are closed indefinitely

    Pleasant Hill

    • City Hall, the Doanes Park Youth Center, library and lobby of police station are closed

    Urbandale

    • Encourages residents to wear masks in public

    Waukee

    • Residents are asked to file permits and make payments online or to drop their payments off in the entryway drop boxes

    West Des Moines

    • City buildings to open June 1
    • West Des Moines Police Station lobby will remain open during regular hours, but residents are asked to call or visit them online to conduct their business
    • Playgrounds are open

    Windsor Heights

    • City buildings are closed

    DART Updates: ridedart.com

    • DART has put new safety measures in place which will allow riders to use the front doors to board the bus and use the bus fareboxes beginning July 1
    • DART has resumed majority of service lines
    • DART is requiring riders to wear masks while riding

    Des Moines Water Works

    Additional Information

    • School closures can be found at local news sites including KCCI and WHO-TV.
    • For those seeking help with human service needs, Iowans are encouraged to call or text the 211 service. Either call 211 or text your ZIP code to 898-211 with questions.
    • Local community pages on Facebook can serve as a resource for neighborhoods, allowing individuals to share and respond to the needs of those needing assistance.