A plan to let employees in private Iowa businesses claim they are medically vulnerable or have a religious objection to Covid vaccine mandates has cleared a House committee on Thursday afternoon. The bill also makes employees fired for failing to get a Covid shot eligible for unemployment. Business groups are opposed to the bill and the most vocal critics of vaccine mandates are as well. Lindsay Maher is a leader in a group called Informed Choice Iowa.
J.D. Davis, an Iowa Association of Business and Industry vice president, says the bill puts Iowa businesses in the predicament of trying to figure out if they must follow state or federal regulations when it comes to Covid vaccinations.
Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton says there’s a ton of merit to the criticism, but this bill is a compromise that might get enough votes to pass.
Some Democrats on the House State Government Committee objected to letting individuals claim medical exemptions from Covid shot for themselves, rather than have a medical professional sign off on the statement, as is required when school-aged children are exempted from vaccinations.
Representative Henry Stone from Forest City, is guiding the bill through House debate.
Two women who gave public testimony to lawmakers on Thursday said they face being fired or put on administrative leave on Friday because their employer has a Covid vaccination mandate.