I have been working for months now to put protections into state law for employees from employer-issued COVID vaccine mandates. And along comes the Biden administration with another totally unacceptable action! They are proposing a rule that all employers with over 100 employees will be forced to have their employees take the COVID vaccine. And all health facilities that get Medicare or Medicaid will have to force their employees to get the COVID shot. And all federal employees and those of their contractors must also get the shot. The AP reported as many as 100 million Americans will be affected! Lawsuits have already been filed and my short-term prayer is that a federal judge will put a stay on these unconstitutional and unlawful rules.
I believe these Biden COVID vaccine mandate rules (not laws) violate the Constitution as courts have interpreted it to apply to privacy rights and bodily integrity and bodily autonomy rights. They also violate federal law governing the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and HIPAA because the employer will have to ask for protected medical information.
By the way, I want to clarify the FDA “approval” that was recently released. The Pfizer COVID vaccine, as well as the “booster”, is STILL under federal EUA, meaning people have the option to accept or refuse. BioNTech received FDA approval for 16 and over under the name “Comirnaty”, but there are no Comirnaty doses available in the U.S. That means there are no FDA-approved COVID shots available anywhere in the U.S. Every COVID shot in American remains under the EUA law and so people have the option to accept or refuse them.
Judging from the volume of constituent email I have received I would say Iowans are opposed to employers mandating their employees get the COVID vaccine or face losing their jobs. With the safety and effectiveness of COVID vaccines being hotly debated (FDA approval or not), I believe government should honor the right of employees being able to make the choice for themselves whether or not to take the COVID vaccine. I am opposed to these employer mandates and am working to ensure employees enjoy their health care freedoms.
Some say government should not be telling private business what to do. And in general principle I certainly agree with that. But this is a case of infringing on someone else’s freedom: their ability to decide what health care treatment to take. Government should not be doing that.
Something very practical to consider is the workforce shortages that may occur if an employer issues this mandate. Some people will choose to leave their job and in some industries, particularly in the health care field, this will exacerbate the shortages that already exist with health care workers. This will affect the quality of care patients will receive.
For those employees opposed to their employer’s COVID vaccine mandate, I have seen a number are seeking either a medical or a religious exemption. Medical exemptions should be able to be obtained using documentation and/or a statement from your health care provider. One obvious exemption that should be made available is in the case of a person who has had COVID and tests demonstrate they have antibodies. They would have a natural immunity which is said to be stronger and more enduring than the immunity gained from a COVID vaccine. That person should be able to qualify for a medical exemption.
Regarding religious exemptions…..According to Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, which specializes in religious freedom litigation and has won a number of those types of cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, COVID vaccines cannot be mandatory under Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act which governs discrimination in employment based on religion. In general, employee vaccine religious exemption requests must be accommodated, where a reasonable accommodation exists without undue hardship to the employer. Employers have made reasonable accommodations for employees as unvaccinated to continue working for many months now during the pandemic. So it is reasonable for them to continue to do so for those employees requesting a religious exemption. Also, employers are not permitted to judge the validity of sincerely held religious beliefs expressed in the exemption. This applies whether the COVID vaccine is FDA approved or just EUA.
If your exemption is denied or you are not offered an exemption:
Ask how to appeal the decision.
If there is no appeal option, you can file a civil rights complaint at https://icrc.iowa.gov/file-complaint and include all documentation (request for exemption, their response and any communications).
Contact your state legislators and the governor via email or phone call, AND log your violation with iafreedomviolations.com. (These are being tracked and delivered to leadership at the Statehouse.)
Seek out an attorney for litigation. Check out iafreedomviolations.com for suggested legal counsel.
File a charge against your employer with the EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, at https://www.eeoc.gov/filing-charge-discrimination.
To report a business who has discriminated against you or denied accommodating your exemption please report them to the Iowa Economic Authority at https://www.iowaeda.com
Mask Law In Court
As you may recall the legislature passed into law with my support that K-12 schools are prohibited from issuing a mandate for face masks on their employees, students or members of the public on their property unless the face mask is for a specific instructional purpose, such as nursing class, welding class, etc. Decisions on wearing a face mask are up to parents and families.
This law is now being challenged in by court several parents on the grounds that the law discriminates against students with disabilities by denying those students equal access to education. They ask to block enforcement of the law, thus allowing schools to issue mask mandates. One parent is further asking for the state to issue a statewide mask mandate for schools. Also, the Biden Dept. of Education is investigating Iowa’s mask law for the same reasons.
Just today the federal judge presiding over these cases blocked the ban we passed on schools issuing mask mandates. The block on enforcement of our law will be in effect while the case works its way through the courts. He thinks masks help reduce the spread of the virus. Other studies show the opposite, making that a debatable issue. Plus, he’s making policy, which is not his job; it’s the legislature’s job. So parents and families just got stripped of their right to decide what’s best for their children going to school! The governor plans to appeal this decision.
Iowa Pro-Life Court Case Update
Sixty of us Iowa legislators have signed onto a brief to the Iowa Supreme Court asking them to both uphold our 24-hour waiting period law passed in 2020 and also to overturn a ruling the court made in 2018 saying there is a “fundamental right” to an abortion in the Iowa Constitution.
In the brief we assert that the previous court ruling was a drastic error due to mistaken reasoning and that nothing in Iowa’s Constitution or its history or tradition suggests that abortion is a “fundamental right”. We say it has prevented the legislature from enacting common-sense measures to protect the unborn which has likely contributed to an increase in abortions in Iowa.
Texas Heartbeat Law Upheld
In a very unusual move acting upon a pro-life law, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Texas’ heartbeat law (when a heartbeat is detected, the unborn life is protected) to go into effect while the case challenging the law goes through the court process. This normally never happens. The court almost always blocks a pro-life law from going into effect while the case goes through the court system. This is a very interesting development in pro-life litigation. And hopefully it portends a shift in the court’s thinking. The court made this decision by a 5-4 vote, pretty evenly divided.
Twelve other states besides Texas have passed heartbeat laws, including Iowa, but all others have been blocked by the courts, except Texas’. In Texas, by statistics this would protect 85% of all unborn babies. Besides this case Biden’s Dept. of Justice is suing Texas over this law as well.
More on Voting Machines
I guess I’m slow but I just found out the federal Election Assistance Commission quietly updated back in February (after 16 years and a seriously questionable general election) the standards for voting machines. They are now saying that going forward voting systems will be required NOT to be connected to any digital networks (the internet!). Previously, requirements were limited and mainly only recommendations. The commission specifically cited the potential threat posed by those outside the election process, even foreign adversaries they said, to meddle in elections.
They wrote, “There are significant security concerns introduced when networked devices are then connected to the voting system. This connectivity provides an access path to the voting system through the Internet and thus an attack can be orchestrated from anywhere in the world (e.g., nation state attacks). The external network connection leaves the voting system vulnerable to attacks, regardless of whether the connection is only for a limited period or if it is continuously connected.”
The new standards allow for wireless ports (a concession made to the companies that manufacture and sell voting machines), but they must be disabled. Some say that this allowance still makes our voting systems too vulnerable to attack and they warned the commission not to make that concession. Heeding this warning, Ohio banned their voting machines from having any wireless hardware or software components, even if disabled.
These are the standards to which voting machines must now adhere. Why would the federal election commission make that change unless they knew we had cybersecurity issues with our voting machines? Of course they know we are vulnerable. They admitted that themselves. There are those that would try to lull us into a false sense of security saying not to worry, that “our voting machines are not connected to the internet”. Perhaps they are turned “off” or disabled. It doesn’t matter-they are still vulnerable. They may or may not have that capability; the voting machine companies have been inconsistent with that. Here in Iowa, before we have a known major issue we need to take care of it. A pre-emptive strike. We need non-internet-capable voting machines and to go with it, counterfeit-proof paper ballots. Easy to vote and even harder to cheat!
P.S. I don’t trust the voting machine companies we have to adhere to these standards. Previous to the 2020 election, they have been hauled before Congress for questioning regarding problems with a lack of security with their equipment. And those companies knew of the federal recommendations regarding cybersecurity and they were found at times to be sloppy. Companies like that have no respect for election integrity and America’s voters. We should not be doing business with them.