This week, the legislature continued subcommittee and committee work. The week ended with blizzard-like conditions, so many scheduled meetings were canceled Thursday.
The Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board released its final recommendations
Thursday, which the Governor said strongly informed her legislative agenda. Top themes include:
- Make Iowa a global leader in broadband
- Empower workforce by caring for our youngest Iowans (childcare and preschool)
- Create an environment to attract and retain (including investing in affordable housing)
- Modernize health care in Iowa
- Boost K-12 student achievement and career readiness
- Invest in manufacturing innovation
- Elevate government efficiency efforts
a bill that deals with infant deaths and the medical examiners form moved out of a Senate Human Resources subcommittee on Tuesday, 2-1. The bill would require that a medical examiner investigation form for infants zero to three years of age must include a request for information regarding the date and type of the decedent’s last immunization. If the decedent received more than one immunization at the time of the last immunization, the information provided shall include all types of immunizations received. IowaBio along with BIO submitted written comments and attended the subcommittee in opposition. It now moves to the full Senate Human Resources Committee.
Additional anti-vaccine bills were filed this week (see the bill tracker excel file for a full list of bills
) including SF193
by Senators Dennis Guth (R-Klemme), Craig Johnson (R-Independence), Jason Shultz (R-Schleswig), Zach Whiting (R-Spirit Lake) and Jim Carlin (R-Sioux City), and its similar companion in the House HF330
by Representative Jeff Shipley (R-Birmingham). These are both expansive anti-vaccine bills, that IowaBio opposes.
Below are the major provisions of SF193/HF330:
- Prohibits an employer from failing or refusing to hire, discharge, penalize, or otherwise discriminate against an employee with respect to compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on the employee’s vaccination history or the refusal of the employee to receive a vaccine or provide proof of immunity. And creates a cause of action for the employee.
- Prohibits hospitals, health care facilities, assisted living centers and similar organizations from requiring an employee to be vaccinated/immunized and prohibits discriminating against patients/residents who refuse vaccinations/immunizations. Allows aggrieved persons to seek injunctive relief and damages. Prohibits state reimbursements for violations. Prohibits license discipline or actions based on an applicant or licensee’s immunization history.
- Prohibits insurers from changing coverage or premiums due to immunization status of an individual, or be subject to penalties. Prohibits insurers from providing a group policy or other incentives or penalties to a participating provider based on achieving certain immunization administration rates. Prohibits the immunization status of a person covered by a group policy, contract, or plan for health insurance from being used as a factor in the rating of a group policy, contract, or plan for health insurance in Iowa.
- Creates a new exemption from immunizations otherwise required for a person’s enrollment in any elementary or secondary school or licensed child care center, an exemption based on the submission of a signed affidavit by the applicant, or if the applicant is a minor, by the applicant’s parent or legal guardian, stating that the immunization conflicts with the conscientiously held beliefs of the applicant, or if the applicant is a minor, of the applicant’s parent or legal guardian.
- Amends Code chapter 216 (civil rights commission) to provide that it is an unfair or discriminatory practice for any owner, lessee, sublessee, proprietor, manager, or superintendent of any public accommodation or any agent or employee thereof to do certain things based on the basis of a person’s vaccination or immunity status. Provides a basis under Code chapter 216 for a person claiming to be aggrieved by the actions to file a complaint with the civil rights commission and to seek relief, judicial review, and enforcement.
- States that an applicant for a nonoperator’s identification card shall not be required to receive the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in order to be issued a card and the card shall not include the vaccination or immunization status, immunity status, or test results relating to a communicable disease of the holder of the card.
- Requires the department of public health to require that a health care provider who administers vaccines and immunizations and is required to consult and review or report the administration of vaccines or immunizations to the statewide immunization registry or IHIN obtain written, informed consent from a patient, or if the patient is a minor, the patient’s parent or legal guardian, prior to reporting the administration of the vaccine or immunization to the statewide immunization registry or IHIN.
HF330 includes additional provisions that amend existing code relating to the proclamation of a state of disaster emergency by the governor. Current law provides that a state of disaster emergency shall continue for 30 days unless sooner terminated or extended by the governor and that the general assembly, by concurrent resolution when in session or through the legislative council by majority vote, if not in session, may rescind the proclamation. Under HF330, a state of disaster emergency would continue for 30 days unless sooner rescinded, extended, or amended by the general assembly, not the governor, and any initial extension of the proclamation by the general assembly shall not exceed 60 days, and any subsequent extension shall not exceed 60-day increments.
HF330 also provides that a measure dictated in a state of disaster emergency proclamation shall not require an individual to receive a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine; authorize an agency to adopt rules pursuant to Code chapter 17A to require an individual to receive a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine; or authorize the imposition or impose any civil or criminal penalties against an individual who refuses to receive a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
Another bill HF329
that was filed by Representative Jeff Shipley (R-Birmingham) would deem a person exempt from any immunization requirement for employment or school if the person can show that the immunization does not meet certain conditions, including specifications for clinical trials.
Conditions that must be met for immunization requirements to apply bill are: 1) the pivotal clinical trial the United States food and drug administration (FDA) relied upon to approve the vaccine evaluated the vaccine’s safety, for at least one year after it was administered, against a control group that received either a placebo or another vaccine that was licensed for approval as provided in this paragraph; 2) the department of public health posts on the department’s website the injuries or diseases caused by the vaccine and the rate at which the injury or disease occurs as a result of the vaccine; 3) the risk of permanent disability or death from the vaccine has been proven to be less than that caused by the infection the vaccine is intended to prevent; and 4) the vaccine’s manufacturer is liable, including for design defect claims, for any injury caused by the vaccine.
We are seeing many anti-vaccine bills filed and active lobbying by anti-vaccine groups this session. IowaBio is working closely with the Iowa Immunizes Coalition to combat these efforts.