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This bill (HSB 647) was introduced last week and is designed to address the issue of COVID vaccine mandates. Here are its provisions:

  1. A business, employer or government is prohibited from inquiring into a person’s medical treatment status or requiring them to furnish an immunity passport.
  2. They are also prohibited from maintaining an existing record of a person’s medical treatment status if the person requests it be deleted.
  3. They also cannot tax a person, or deny a person services, goods, privileges, access, transportation, license, education or health care based on a person’s medical treatment status or whether they furnish an immunity passport.
  4. In addition, they are prohibited from discriminating from such a person in any way related to employment: hiring, firing, wages, or conditions.
  5. Also, they cannot exclude, limit, segregate, refuse to serve, require a mask, require testing or otherwise discriminate against a person based on their medical treatment status or the furnishing of an immunity passport.
  6. Any business, school, employer or government that violates these provisions is liable for any adverse reaction, injury, disability or death that is or may be related to a person receiving forced medical treatment.

Why is this bill necessary?  Individuals have been, and without this law, will continue to be, banned from full participation in society simply because they have not received one or all COVID vaccinations.

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Medical mandates, such as the COVID vaccination, I believe are a violation of a basic fundamental right expressed in the 4th Amendment that a person has the right “in their person” to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures”. I would consider this an unreasonable seizure of a person’s body or health. It should be protected from both the government and from a private individual or business.

In addition, courts have interpreted the Constitution to apply this to privacy rights, bodily integrity and bodily autonomy rights. These mandates 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.

Just as we have anti-discrimination laws that protect various classes of people, these laws allow for equal protection (a requirement of the 14th Amendment) under the law regarding medical treatment status.

Aren’t exemptions enough; why is another law needed?  Seeking an exemption requires an individual to take actions others would not be required to take, and this alone is discriminatory. Even with exemptions in place, people with them continue to be segregated, put on unpaid leave, fired, or treated differently because of their status. Even if this discriminatory action were not occurring, anyone should be afforded equal rights no matter what their medical treatment status is.

Public health is different since the decision for someone to not get vaccinated affects others around them so people are being put at risk by those who get exemptions or refuse vaccination.  Historically, any individual who received a vaccination was assumed protected against infection if exposed to the illness. However, the CDC has acknowledged the COVID vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission to others. Any protection is temporary and personal only. Consequently, unvaccinated people or those with exemptions can’t be proven to provide any greater risk than vaccinated individuals.

Government should not be telling private business what to do. In general principle I certainly agree with that. But we are having cases of private businesses or employers infringing on people’s freedom: their ability to decide what health care treatment to take. Government should be protecting those people. Government requires private businesses to take many actions to protect employees, such as labor laws, workplace safety laws, and anti-discrimination laws. Prohibiting discrimination based on medical treatment status or furnishing an immunity passport is no different from that.

Won’t this open up Iowa for lawsuits if this bill passes?  In August of 2021 Montana passed our nation’s first anti-discrimination bill regarding medical treatment. Despite 2 lawsuits challenging its validity it continues to stand at this time.

What about the federal government imposing fines or pulling funding from the state?  Montana has not experienced any decrease in funding or retaliation from the federal government in regards to its anti-discrimination bill.

Does this bill impact just COVID vaccination or all vaccinations?  This bill would apply to all vaccines and medical treatments. Government or private businesses should never intervene in an individual’s health care decisions. Public health emergencies do not eradicate individual liberty. These liberties are even more important during times of emergency, not less important. If there is an effective treatment available for a devastating disease, people will gladly line up to take the treatment. They won’t have to be forced and should not be forced.

When will this bill get a hearing and can I come testify?  The hearing for the bill, HSB 647, will take place in the Iowa State Capitol, Room 103, at 2 pm on Thursday, Feb. 10th. The meeting will last until everyone has had a chance to speak and share their testimony. Anyone is welcome to come testify of their experience with the COVID vaccine mandate. Please reach out to the testimony coordinator at 678-988-3563 with your call or text. You will be given a general time you can speak so that everyone who wishes can be accommodated. If you can’t come, please click here to submit testimony into the public record. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees/meetingPublicComment?meetingID=34861&action=viewCommitteePublicComments

Author: Sandy Salmon

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