In a subcommittee dominated by average, everyday Iowans, the message was clear — pass Senate File 91.
The legislation, proposed by Sen. Sandy Salmon, would reform the Governor’s Emergency Powers and comes a few years after the state navigated the COVID pandemic.
Salmon’s bill would allow a governor’s disaster proclamation to be in effect for just 60 days and it could only be extended by the legislature. The proclamation could be extended in 60-day increments. The legislature would also have the authority to line-item veto provisions of the governor’s proclamation.
The proclamation would not be able to:
- Infringe on a constitutionally protected right except it pass the highest standard under law (which is what the law is normally)
- Restrict rights, interests or activities in a manner that is not neutral or evenly applicable (can’t shut down a business if other businesses are open and can’t shut down a church if businesses are open)
- Prohibit in-person interactions between family or pastor with a patient in a hospital or resident in a nursing home
- Authorize use of mobile, cellular, or any other digital technologies or drones or robotics to track or surveil persons without their consent
- Restrict the practice or scope of service of a health care professional or hospital, or clinic
- Restrict the prescribing authority of a health care professional (doctors may continue the freedom they already had to prescribe off-label drugs)
- Require participation in a contact tracing program (keep the program voluntary)
- Require diagnostic tests, vaccinations, quarantine or treatment of healthy people. If sick, they cannot be required to take a vaccination or a treatment but can be required to be quarantined. Medical and religious exemptions apply. Mandatory restrictions on freedom of movement and freedom of association are prohibited unless a person is sick or a warrant obtained.
It would also allow clarification that medical and religious exemptions still apply during a disaster emergency for the vaccinations that are required for attendance at public schools.
Salmon said that her bill isn’t a criticism of Gov. Kim Reynolds, and added Reynolds will not live forever and will not be elected forever. Should Iowa have a governor in the future at a time of emergency who isn’t as protected and respective of individual rights, Salmon hopes this bill provides some protections.
Carrie Wright, a citizen from West Des Moines, spoke in support of the bill. She suggested changing the length of time for the declaration though from 60 days to 30 days. And she also expressed concern about the authority to quarantine the unvaccinated.
She said the medical community has shown themselves to be able to be pressured to go along with the edicts of their corporate owners, their licensed boards of their medical associations.
Wright tried to get a prescription for Ivermectin filled but couldn’t do it during the pandemic. That was because the licenses of pharmacists were being threatened.
Tommy Flynn, a Bondurant resident, said he appreciates the bill and supports reforming the emergency powers.
He too couldn’t receive Ivermectin and said for either financial reasons or “nefarious” reasons, it was deemed not to be safe during COVID despite winning a Nobel Prize years earlier.
“I think a lot of us understand that was due to there not being money to be made by repurposing an existing drug,” he said.
Excess deaths were another area of concern Flynn discussed.
“I think it’s a great thing to pull the power back closer to the people,” he said.
Terry Pearce of West Des Moines said he supports the bill as he doesn’t believe an emergency declaration should be able to prevent someone from going to a place of worship or assemble or violate any other rights.
Jessica Hobbs shared a story about having to go outside of the country to get Ivermectin. She called this bill a “good step in the right direction” toward protecting sovereign rights.
Kathy Bogaards of Pella provided a story about struggling to receive proper medical care during the pandemic. She too discussed an inability to receive Ivermectin and said the treatment offered at the hospital too often made things worse for people during COVID.
Democrat State Sen. Claire Celsi eventually cut Bogaards off as Bogaards told the tale of her nightmare scenario dealing with COVID.
Celsi said it was likely that Ivermectin wasn’t provided because it’s “ineffective.”
Bogaards said while at the hospital with COVID she was told she took up a bed she shouldn’t have taken up since she was unvaccinated.
“When I left there I was in tears,” she said. “They still wanted me to get a vaccine. The government isn’t listening and people are still dying.”
Kim Rasler called the bill “very thoughtful.” She suggested a minor tweak but was thankful for Salmon’s work on the legislation.
Amber Williams said she worked for a small business when COVID hit and the fitness studio was ordered to close.
“We never did recover,” she said. “I ended up having to quit the job because I couldn’t make it. I really appreciate you bringing attention to this.”
Courtney Collier spoke in support of the bill, noting that inalienable rights and constitutionally protected rights are not paused during an emergency.
“We see clearly now the corruption of the alphabet agencies at both the state and federal levels,” she said. “Individuals must always be able to make their own, personal decisions about what is safe or beneficial. The government is not to keep us safe, they have to protect our rights. We are a free people and that must be protected.”
Bethany Niemeyer said forced testing and vaccination have no place in Iowa and that freedom will not fail us even in emergencies. She cautioned it is not an “if situation” that these powers are abused even further, but when.
Rebecca Wilkerson echoed support for the bill, noting additional problems of Iowans attempting to get Ivermectin.
Gabby Fistler said she works at a bank in a small community and has heard stories about how businesses struggled through the pandemic. She also said her 95-year-old grandma never imagined she would be told she couldn’t go to church, but it happened when the government shut churches down.
Anna Wolvers discussed the difficulties she faced during the epidemic, especially when it came to finding work and receiving medical treatment.
Elizabeth, an individual who works in the medical field, said she saw “really disturbing trends” the last couple of years.
“I do understand that everyone was wanting to balance public safety and individual rights, but what I saw, it was appalling,” she said.
Things like masks and vaccines were supposed to be optional, but they were eventually forced. Treatments weren’t being given. Informed consent wasn’t provided. The list goes on.
Republican Senator Cherielynn Westrich said she is supportive of the bill and appreciated all of the stories and comments.
“I think we’ve learned a lot through this pandemic,” she said. “I believe in checks and balances and that we must limit the power of one person when it comes to our state government.”
Salmon also supported the bill. Celsi refused to support the bill and didn’t offer any comments.
[…] LOUD & CLEAR: Iowans want Governor’s Emergency Powers reformed as bill passes subcommitte… […]