DES MOINES, Iowa — A study bill moving through the Iowa House looks to settle the debate over mask and vaccine requirements.
Legislators heard testimony, mostly in support of HSB 647, during a subcommittee meeting on Thursday.
"This is a very sober, fact-finding mission that we're on today," said Rep. Jon Jacobsen, (R- Council Bluffs), who sponsored the study bill.
The study bill would effectively ban vaccine and mask requirements as well as vaccine incentives and disincentives.
"I'm here today to fight not only for my freedoms, but the freedoms for all of Iowans," Iowa veteran Jason Crawford told the subcommittee.
Crawford said he lost his job recently because he chose not to get vaccinated.
"I personally understand the cost that can come from taking a stance," he said.
This bill would prevent situations like that by making it illegal for any employer to fire anyone "based on the person's medical treatment status."
Rep. Bruce Hunter (D- Linn County) pushed back against Crawford's position.
"So you don't believe then that a business should be able to take steps to protect not only their business, but the employees that work there," Hunter said.
Urbandale resident Roxanne Bassett, who reads lips to communicate, told the subcommittee how mask requirements have affected her.
"When I walk into a store, or I'm talking to somebody, and they're wearing masks, I can't understand or hear what they're saying," Bassett said.
While the health officials and most doctors have encouraged vaccines, Dr. Mollie James, who has a private practice in Chariton, had a different take.
"I've treated 2000 COVID patients in the ICU, but I've also treated a number of patients who had vaccine injuries. You won't hear that on the news," she said.
According to the CDC, serious side effects are extremely unusual and the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.
After clearing the subcommittee Thursday, HSB 647 now advances to the full committee.
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