Iowa lawmakers pass bill which would allow employees to opt out of business vaccine mandates


DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa lawmakers met Thursday to vote on proposed redistricting maps, but a different bill passed through legislature during the special session.

Republicans introduced a bill that could make it possible for Iowans to opt out of vaccine mandates set by businesses. The House and Senate passed the measure, which will now head directly to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk.

If the bill is signed, employees can receive a vaccine exemption for either religious or medical reasons without seeing a doctor. The bill also allows workers who lost their job due to a vaccination mandate by their employer to receive unemployment benefits.

Reynolds is expected to sign the bill into law, and released a statement in support of the bill shortly after its passage.

“Not only do I plan to sign this legislation, but I am committed to doing even more,” Reynolds said in her statement. “When the Biden Administration issues the OSHA vaccine mandate in the coming days, we will take immediate legal action.”

Attorney and Drake University law professor Denise Hill said the short-term solution could lead to several long-term problems, such as affecting employers’ ability to safeguard their workplace and the economic impact of increased unemployment benefit eligibility.

“The law is specific to COVID vaccination, but it really sets a precedent that I think is going to be seen as very detrimental to our pro-business reputation here in Iowa,” Hill said.

Lawmakers originally came to the State Capitol Thursday to look over new redistricting maps, which they passed by an overwhelming margin.


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