House File 259 advanced through an Iowa Senate subcommittee on Tuesday. The bill would prohibit employers from requiring an employee have a microchip or other device implanted or inserted into the employee’s body. It also prohibits employers from offering incentives or privileges to an employee for agreeing to have a microchip or other device inserted.
Peter Hird of the Iowa Federation of Labor spoke in support of the bill. He said he’s seen a lot of employers finding new ways to track people. Hird expressed concern about employees being able to collectively organize on their own without interference with an employer.
“Implementing of a microchip is something that’s been around for a while,” Hird said. “This is actually a forward-thinking bill to make sure that people can’t be incentivized to take it.”
Hird asked if it is presently legal for employers to mandate microchips currently.
Republican Sen. Dennis Guth, who chaired the subcommittee, noted that the bill lacks any “teeth.”
“There’s no fines, there’s no repercussions that I can see in here at all,” he said.
Democrat Sen. Bill Dotzler said he’d support the bill, but agrees there should be teeth in it. Dotzler also agreed the bill is “futuristic.”
“There’s current research going on today where computerized chips are put in some humans who can be interacted with the network out there,” Dotzler said. “There are individuals who are working on this kind of technology that has inserted in their bodies chips and they are working on being fully interactive with the world.”
Dotzler said people can be tracked anywhere they go if they have their cell phones in their pocket.
“This chip thing is definitely something that I’m against,” he said.
Republican Sen. Jeff Taylor said he was taken by surprise by the bill.
“It wasn’t one I had expected to be sitting in on a subcommittee, but I support it,” he said.
Taylor said he was pleased to see support for the legislation from a wide range of lobbyists.
He also made it unanimous that the bill needs some sort of teeth put into it.
Guth also signed off in support.