Several weeks ago President Biden announced, by press conference, a massive federal overreach compelling employers across America to require their employees to get the covid shot or risk thousands in fines for each unvaccinated employee. Once the proposed rule is issued, employers will be faced with the lose-lose proposition of firing employees at a time when workforce is Iowa’s biggest hurdle to economic growth. Otherwise, employers will be forced to pay excessive fines to the federal government if they don’t fire these workers.
So far those rules have not come forward, but many businesses have mandated the shot anyway because they assume the rules will soon require them to. Until those rules are announced, no legal action can be taken against them. In an effort to address this dramatic federal overreach, without making more problems for Iowa employers, the Iowa Senate passed HF 902 to create a workable solution. The bill requires businesses to grant health-related or religious exemptions to the COVID vaccine. These exemptions are consistent with other vaccine exemptions in Iowa law. It also provides for unemployment coverages for any employee terminated as a result of losing their job because of a vaccine mandate.
I would have liked to ban vaccine mandates, but that would have been struck down in the court, just like our ban on mask mandates was. While we think we can win the battle over a mask mandate, will take time in the courts. Workers facing termination do not have that time. This will give employers a good reason to postpone any action on vaccination status. Perhaps those rules will never be published because it is known that it will unleash a host of lawsuits immediately. The lawsuits will most likely cause these rules to be suspended until the lawsuits are settled, so there will be time to make a plan.
One of the greatest strengths of our federal system is that it allows each state to act independently and try different solutions to problems. We are watching carefully what other states are doing, and they are watching us. When one of the fifty states finds a solution that works, others will quickly follow suit. It is my hope that the solution to forced vaccination is found in HF 902 along with the lawsuits that will happen when rules are published. We are carefully watching states like Florida and Texas to see if their solutions work.
Much of the chaos we are facing in this nation comes from fear: fear of a virus and fear of an out-of-control federal government. I respect death, but I do not fear it because I have confidence that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for my sin and given me the opportunity to be with Him in eternity. To fear death is to fear life, because the greatest fear of a man is losing that life. People who only love safety do not accomplish much.