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The Iowa Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee unanimously voted in support of House File 259 on Tuesday. The bill prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to have a microchip or other device implanted or inserted into the employee’s body. The bill also prevents employers from incentivizing or providing privilege to employees for microchipping unless it is equally available to employees who do not od microchipping.

It does not prohibit employees from voluntarily agreeing to have a microchip implanted or inserted.

Republican Sen. Dennis Guth proposed amending the bill in order to put some teeth into it. In addition, the amendment provides an additional prohibition on microchips and expanded that to other devices placed on an employee’s body that cannot be removed. The “teeth” inserted into the bill is a $1,000 fine for each violation.

Democrat Sen. Bill Dotzler said he believes the $1,000 fine definitely puts teeth into the bill and agreed it is important to protect employees against other devices that cannot be removed.

Democrat Sen. Todd Taylor asked Guth how common this practice is, noting he is supportive of the bill but “disturbed and curious” at the same time.

Guth said he heard from the House there are a few places beginning to do this but the bill is mainly preventative.

Republican Sen. Jeff Taylor said that it is unfortunate as society has developed technology it sometimes overrides concern for liberty and ethics.

“It’s sad a bill like this is even needed or contemplated,” he said. “I commend Rep. Holt for sponsoring it and Sen. Guth for bringing it forward in our chamber.”

Author: Jacob Hall