Iowa lawmakers pass vaccine mandate exemption bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Legislature has passed a bill that requires businesses to allow employees to seek medical and religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

It also guarantees that employees who are denied exemptions and are fired due to their decision not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for unemployment benefits.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who opposes mask and vaccine requirements, called for legislative action on vaccine mandates and indicated she would sign the bill.

Republicans insisted the bill will help workers keep their jobs but Democrats complained it has no enforcement or penalties for companies that fire workers anyway. They supported it because it does guarantee workers unemployment.