Twelve Iowa House Republicans joined all House Democrats present to block a motion to suspend the rules on Wednesday.
Senate File 2139 was attempting to be amended in a way that was not relevant to the subject of the bill. Democrat Rep. Jennifer Konfrst challenged whether the amendment was germane, and Speaker Pat Grassley immediately ruled in her favor.
Republican Rep. Mike Bousselot then requested a vote to suspend the rules, thus allowing the amendment to be debated. The amendment addressed tort reform for commercial motor vehicles and also protected the rights of Iowans related to COVID vaccination status, according to Bousselot.
The effort to suspend the rules, however, failed, 50-48.
Republicans who voted no were:
The amendment was what remained of the original Medical Freedom & Privacy Bill. The amendment dealing with what was left of the Medical Freedom & Privacy Bill dealt with COVID-19 privacy protections.
An employer would not have been allowed to require an employee to furnish an immunity passport, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.
Businesses, educational institutions, employers or governmental entities also would not be able to:
*refuse, withhold from, or deny to a person any goods, facilities, advantages, privileges, access, transportation or freedom of movement, licensing, educational opportunities, or access to medical care, based on the person’s COVID-19 immunization status;
*exclude, segregate, refuse to serve, require a mask or other facial covering, require testing, or otherwise unfairly discriminate against a person based on the person’s COVID-19 immunization status — except when federal law otherwise requires;
*inquire into the COVID-19 medical treatment status or maintain a record of the COVID-19 medical treatment status of a person — except when federal law otherwise requires;
*maintain an existing record of the COVID-19 medical treatment status of a person if the person requests that the record be deleted — except when federal law otherwise requires.
There was an exception for health carriers or persons engaged in the business of insurance who are regulated in relation to a contract, benefit, term, condition or type of coverage based on sound actuarial principles or related to actual or reasonably anticipated experience.
If an employer discharged an employee based on their COVID-19 immunization status, the employee filed a claim for benefits and the Department of Workforce Development determined the discharged employee was discharged based upon their COVID-19 immunization status, the employer would pay a $50,000 fine. Of that, $25,000 would go to the discharged employee.
After the motion to suspend the rules failed, the bill was deferred by Majority Leader Matt Windschitl.
The future of the bill remains unknown as it will remain on the calendar. The second funnel deadline is this week, meaning if something happens on either issue, it may have to undergo a more unconventional path than a typical piece of legislation.