Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds late Thursday said she looks forward to signing legislation that authorizes unemployment benefits for workers ousted from their jobs because of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
The bill, which passed both chambers of the legislature, also requires employers to provide medical and religious exemptions to their vaccine rules.
“As I’ve stated publicly numerous times, I believe the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19 and we’ve provided Iowans with the information they need to determine what’s best for themselves and their families, but no Iowan should be forced to lose their job or livelihood over the COVID-19 vaccine,” Ms. Reynolds, a Republican, said. “This is a major step forward in protecting Iowans’ freedoms and their abilities to make healthcare decisions based on what’s best for themselves and their families.
Ms. Reynolds is among GOP governors who plan to contest President Biden’s push to expand vaccine rules.
The president mandated vaccines for federal workers and contractors, prompting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to sue, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is writing a regulation that would require employers with 100 or more workers to mandate the vaccine or weekly testing.
“When the Biden Administration issues the OSHA vaccine mandate in the coming days, we will take immediate legal action,” Ms. Reynolds said.
Some lawmakers said the new Iowa legislation is overly broad and hasty, according to News 7-KWWL in Iowa.
“It is not a religious exemption, it is not a medical exemption, it is just a personal exemption that I don’t want to get this vaccine,” State Rep. Bruce Hunter, a Democrat, said. “You don’t have to have a doctor sign off on it. You don’t have to say I am immunocompromised. All I have to do is get my notebook and write I think this vaccine might harm me, I don’t want to take it and you can’t fire me.”