Republican legislative leaders and Governor Kim Reynolds says the state should wait for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on federal Covid-19 vaccination mandates before considering state action on the issue.
The governor, though, predicts the Supreme Court will rule quickly on whether businesses with 100 or more employees will have to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested regularly for Covid.
“I’ve had a lot of businesses that are very concerned and anxious reach out to me,” Reynolds said this morning during a forum hosted by the Iowa Capitol Press Association. “The Supreme Court will be hearing the OSHA (case) on January 7 and so I look for them and would anticipate that they would put forward their ruling in a timely manner.”
Some GOP legislators are proposing a statewide ban on Covid-19 mandates in the workplace. Republican House Speaker Pat Grassley said the legislature took “strong action” last fall by extending unemployment benefits to Iowans denied religious or medical exemptions from Covid vaccination requirements at their workplace.
“But if we need to step, I think the legislature should stand ready,” Grassley said during the ICPA forum. “…Look at the 100 person mandate. You go talk to employers and talk to employees. That’s just one more reason not to enter the workforce.”
House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst said raising Iowa’s vaccination rate will reduce absences in the workplace.
“We need to spend our energy focusing on getting Iowans to get the vaccine that has been proven safe and effective and we need to make sure we can get out of the pandemic,” Konfrst said at the forum, “and science has proven that the best way to do that is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
Federal Covid vaccination mandates for health care workers and government contractors are also on hold due to court challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state vaccine mandates, but has not yet ruled on any issued by the Biden Administration.