Iowa passes bill allowing unemployment for workers fired over vaccine mandates
Iowa state lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill that will allow state residents to qualify for unemployment benefits if they lose their job as a result of refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Under the bill, which was opposed by businesses and opponents of vaccine mandates, people who claim medical and religious exemptions from vaccine mandates and are fired as a result will be protected under state law.
“I believe we have found a meaningful solution to protect Iowans and Iowa businesses from the Biden administration’s extreme government overreach,” Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley (R) said in a statement after the bill passed the House, according to the Des Moines Register.
The House approved the bill in a 68-27 vote on Thursday. It previously passed in the Senate in a 45-4 vote. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) is expected to sign the legislation.
Some lawmakers and those who oppose vaccine mandates argued that the bill did not go far enough to protect Iowans. State Rep. Jon Jacobsen (R) reported said that the bill marked an “incremental” improvement for state residents, but did not address some of his other concerns.
“There’s no repercussions to bad actions by employers,” he said. “It doesn’t discourage any future improper mandates.”
Republican lawmakers have been working to create legislation that would serve as an answer to President Biden’s federal mandate that will require employers with 100 or more employees to have their workers be vaccinated or take weekly tests, the Register reported.