Iowa governor banning mask mandates

Iowa governor banning mask mandates
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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Thursday signed a bill into law that bans school officials and local jurisdictions from implementing mask mandates.

Calling it a victory for individual liberties, Reynolds said at a signing ceremony held as lawmakers hand-delivered the legislation to her desk that the state was putting parents in control of children's health, according to the Des Moines Register.

“The state of Iowa is putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions,” Reynolds said. “I am proud to be a governor of a state that values personal responsibility and individual liberties. I want to thank the Iowa Legislature for their quick work in bringing this bill to my desk so that it can be signed into law.”

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The law signed Thursday also extends Iowa's public school open enrollment period and expands tax benefits for teachers, among other provisions. Democrats offered several amendments, including one to raise teachers' starting pay, which all failed.

Iowa's ban on mask mandates comes as the state has seen levels of new COVID-19 cases drop to rates not seen since early 2020; the state reported fewer than 300 new cases on Wednesday.

Roughly 47 percent of Iowa's total population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.