Republican State Sen. Jason Schultz acknowledged during his final remarks on House File 902 that the bill is not everything Iowans hoped for in regards to employer vaccine mandates. But he said it’s the best he could imagine the legislature doing.
“The bill itself actually got better as I thought about it, it got better as we worked on it between chambers,” he said. “The bill itself is an answer, partial as it may be, not the final answer as Senators Carlin and Nunn stated, but it recognizes that the strong-arm tactics of the Biden administration to infer that mandates are imminent hourly, has the employees and the employers of Iowa scared. Otherwise freedom-loving, independent employers and employees of Iowa are waiting at any minute for the Biden administration to drop the hammer.”
Some employees are taking the COVID vaccine under the idea that the mandate is going to happen eventually. Some employers are mandating the jab because the mandate will come eventually.
“But they don’t have to,” Schultz said. “Nothing official has happened.”
With President Joe Biden hovering at 30 percent support in Iowa, Schultz said the message from most Americans is clear – get the administration off their backs.
He speculated some “woke” companies will get on board to virtue signal, but if they’re in Iowa, they will not be able to mandate it without allowing exemptions.
Schultz said the exemptions are intended to be “wide open” so someone can’t hardly deny them. He also said the bill is not legitimizing mandates in Iowa, as Democrat Sen. Herm Quirmbach suggested.
Schultz said the bill is written in a way to avoid “previous mistakes.”
“We’ve done a straight mandate ban,” he said. “We did it with masks. Proud of that vote, was happy with that vote, only to have a federal judge appointed by former President Obama come in and say ‘no, you don’t get to do it.’ That’s all it took. One legal hearing and it was just gone.”
He added the legislature could have banned mandates, but with one legal filing it could’ve been gone as well. Then they’d be back to square one, but without having the floor, without having a special session, without an opportunity to fix it until the second Monday in January.
The forced acceptance of waivers was the way to go, Schultz said. That way there cannot be a lawsuit if the federal government issues a mandate and state law bans mandates. The waivers provided in the bill are also based on securing a person’s rights that are enumerated in the country’s founding documents.
“It would be very hard for a federal judge to not read the Constitution and see that you don’t get to mess with those,” Schultz said. “This is well thought out, well written and there’s a purpose to it. It’s the best product I could see coming out of this environment.”
Schultz concluded that Iowa was one of the top-eight most-open states through the 2020 lockdowns and regulations.
“We went into that lockdown period better than most states and we came out better than almost all of them,” he said. “And it’s because of individual freedom. That’s what this bill is trying to do is restore individual freedom for employers and employees.”