Iowa's State Board of Health too short of members to meet

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state board meant to help oversee the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has not met since May because it does not have enough members.

Seven of the 11 seats on the Iowa State Board of Health are vacant, The Des Moines Register reported.

The board, which advises the Iowa Department of Public Health, is required by law to have 11 members, including a mix of medical and public health professionals, substance-abuse treatment experts and the general public.

The governor appoints the board’s members.

State Sen. Liz Mathis, a Marion Democrat, said in a news release she was “appalled” that Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has left the board short-handed.

“This would be a problem anytime, but it is especially troubling during an ‘all hands on deck’ moment for Iowa health care,” Mathis said.

Reynolds’ spokesman, Pat Garrett, did not respond to requests for comment, The Register reported.

State law requires that one political party may not have more than half a state board’s members, plus one. The State Board of Health currently has three Republicans, one political independent and no Democrats.

The board’s last meeting was May 12. Its next scheduled meeting is Sept. 8.