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Bill would bar Iowa businesses, schools from requiring Covid vaccinations

DES MOINES — A House committee has approved legislation to forbid Iowa businesses, schools and government facilities from denying entry to people who haven’t had the Covid vaccine. In addition, all government entities in Iowa would be barred from issuing ID cards with a person’s vaccination history.

Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, said employment, travel and normal participation in society shouldn’t be decided by whether someone has been vaccinated.

“I think vaccine passports are unAmerican,” Holt said. “I think they’re unconstitutional and I think they’re unacceptable.”

During a public hearing on the bill yesterday afternoon, Nicole Hasso of Johnston told lawmakers she wants to return to BC — Before Covid — and she opposes any kind of a vaccine mandate.

“This is a personal choice,” Hosse said. “This is an individual choice and we should not be told how to live our lives or what we’re going to put in our bodies or what we can’t put in our bodies.”

A number of other speakers urged lawmakers to go farther and prohibit hospitals and health care facilities from requiring that patients or visitors be vaccinated against Covid-19. Courtney Collier of Waukee said it’s about body autonomy.

“Let’s not muddy the waters any more than we already have this last year with more inhumane and tyrannical dictates,” she said.

Holt said he’s spent several weeks negotiating over the details — and is sympathetic to critics who say the bill doesn’t go far enough.

“I started out exactly where many of you talked about today and basically went backwards based upon getting to the point where I felt we could get something actually signed into law,” Holt said, “as opposed to academic discussions that don’t result in action.”

A spokeswoman for the Iowa Hospital Association said hospitals need to have a patient’s medical history, including information about vaccinations, in order to provide the best care and the association opposes changes in the bill.

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