The top Republican in the Iowa House says G-O-P lawmakers will wait to see whether legal challenges successfully derail President Biden’s Covid vaccine mandates before deciding whether to advance a bill to ban vaccine mandates in Iowa. House Speaker Pat Grassley says the legislature has already given unvaccinated workers facing dismissal the right to claim a religious or medical exemption and receive unemployment benefits.
“I remind everyone with this topic, we did take some significant action to make sure we could provide that level of support for Iowans who maybe wanted to make an alternative choice,” Grassley says.
That law was passed in late October. Some Republican legislators want to ban Covid-19 vaccine requirements in the workplace altogether, but Grassley says courts have already blocked two of the federal vaccine mandates and Governor Reynolds is calling on the Supreme Court to rule on a third lawsuit.
“So as far as a bill that would completely ban it,” Grassley says, “…see how that plays out.”
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed it had received several appeals of the federal requirement that large employers ensure workers are vaccinated against Covid-19 or tested weekly. Last Friday, a federal appeals court revived the mandate, which applies to businesses with at least 100 employees.
(Additional reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Katarina Sostaric)