Despite many of us House members’ requests not to do it, and in an unusual and objectionable move, House leaders brought a bill to the floor containing 2 entirely different subjects: one I opposed and the other I supported. A procedural vote was required to bring this to the floor and I voted No. There were enough No’s that the bill did not come to the floor.
I enthusiastically support most of the second part of this bill, which concerned medical freedom and privacy. It protected employees from having to show an employer a vaccine passport for a COVID-19 vaccination. It prohibited discrimination against anyone based on COVID vaccination status, whether it be isolating, requiring a mask or testing or any other action. And, it prohibited an employer from inquiring into an employee’s COVID vaccination status or keeping a record of it. All of this I have fought for Iowans to have. I have fought for protection of Iowans’ 4th Amendment right to be free in their person and effects from unreasonable searches.
However, it also left it open to question whether an insurance company could raise premium rates on an unvaccinated (COVID) person. In addition, the language appeared to cede to the federal government the power to set health care law, which is not a power given to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution. In short, we need the original Medical Freedom and Privacy Act originally introduced and passed by committee earlier in the session.
But the first part of the bill dealing with trucker liability reform I absolutely cannot support. This bill had a hard cap of $1 million on non-economic damages, which for all practical purposes, in certain cases, denies no-or-low-income Iowans that sustain egregious injuries or death due to an accident with a commercial vehicle that is not their fault their 7thAmendment right to a jury trial. This hard cap will cut off access to the courts for the worst cases, the cases that need justice the most. Iowans expect us to protect victims: that’s what a right to a jury trial is all about. You can’t put a price on a life, especially if you have not heard the facts of each unique case. This is the job of the judicial branch, not the legislative branch.
What I really hate is trading one constitutional right for another. That’s what we would have done here had this bill passed. We were being forced to choose between our 7th Amendment right and our 4th Amendment right. Having to make that choice is reprehensible and unconscionable. This is not the place for compromise. As legislators we swore an oath to uphold all of our constitutional rights and that is what we ought to be doing. So I voted No to keep from losing our 7th Amendment constitutional right. And I look forward to supporting our 4th Amendment constitutional rights in the future.