The measure states that “a person who is fired for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19” will not be “disqualified for benefits”.
After signing the legislation, Reynolds said in a statement that the new law grants Iowans “the freedoms and abilities to make health care decisions based on what is best for themselves and their families. “.
President Joe Biden imposed tough new vaccine rules on federal workers, large employers and healthcare workers in September in a sweeping attempt to contain the coronavirus. The new rules included an executive order requiring all government employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with no ability to be regularly tested to opt out, and an accompanying decree ordering that the same standard be applied to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government. The demands have been the subject of a backlash and legislative action by a handful of Republican governors, with Reynolds being the most recent.
“As I have stated publicly on several occasions, I believe the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19 and we have provided the Iowans with the information they need to determine what is best for them and their families, but no Iowan should be forced to do that. lose their jobs or livelihoods because of the COVID-19 vaccine, ”Reynolds said.
About 55% of people in Iowa are fully vaccinated, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new law also states that an employer requiring a vaccine “must waive the requirement if the employee, or, if the employee is a minor, the employee’s parent or legal guardian, requests a waiver and makes the request. ‘one of the two submissions to the employer’. These submissions include the inability to take the vaccine for health or religious reasons.
The bill was passed by Iowa House by 68-27, then went to the State Senate, which advanced it to the governor’s office for approval after a 45-4 vote.
Reynolds is the last Republican governor to oppose federal vaccine mandates, joining the governors. Kay Ivey from Alabama, Greg Abbott from Texas and Ron DeSantis from Florida.
Ivey signed an executive order on Monday ordering state executive agencies to cooperate with the Alabama attorney general’s office as he challenges the Biden administration’s vaccine warrants and, where possible, not to comply with the federal effort.
DeSantis announced Thursday that a new lawsuit against the Biden administration over the president’s order imposing a vaccine mandate on federal contractors has been formally filed. Abbott issued an executive order earlier this month banning all state entities, including private employers, from enforcing vaccination warrants.
Reynolds said Friday that Iowa’s new law was only the “first step.”