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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

IOWA (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa signed legislation over the weekend that allows workers to receive unemployment benefits if they are fired for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, while also expanding medical and religious exemptions.

Signed on October 29, the bill requires employers to waive a vaccine requirement for employees who attest that “receiving the vaccine would be injurious to” their “health and well-being,” or that it “would conflict with the tenets and practices of [their] religion.”

Employees who do not qualify under these two exemptions will receive some financial protection if they are fired via unemployment benefits. Employers will not pay higher unemployment insurance costs for these fired employees.

“I am proud to sign this bipartisan piece of legislation today. This is a major step forward in protecting Iowans’ freedoms and their abilities to make healthcare decisions based on what’s best for themselves and their families,” Reynolds said in a statement. “This legislation also gives employees the assurance that they will still receive unemployment benefits despite being fired for standing up for their beliefs.”

“This is only the first step. We will be taking other legal actions against the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate,” Reynolds said.

One of those actions include joining other Republican-led states in an October 29 federal challenge to the vaccine mandate for government employees.

“As long as I am governor, the State of Iowa will always stand alongside Iowans and to be sure their freedoms are protected,” Reynolds said in a separate statement.

A business lobby group in the Hawkeye State opposed the legislation because it creates a conflict with federal vaccine requirements.

“What is clear is that whichever path is taken it’ll be higher costs for Iowa employers,” JD Davis with the Iowa Association of Business and Industry said, according to a local news station.

His organization registered opposition to the vaccine exemption bill, according to lobbyist declarations on the legislature’s website.

The Board of Regents, which oversees education policy in the state, supported the legislation.

The state does not yet prohibit vaccine mandates, however.

Legislation proposed during the most recent session would have prohibited employers from refusing to hire people who have chosen not to take the COVID-19 shots or declined to show proof of immunity.

The same bill could be brought up again for debate when the next legislation session starts in January 2022.

Montana and Texas both have laws outlawing jab mandates by private companies.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants to sign legislation protecting workers from jab requirements in an upcoming session that begins November 15.

“Your right to earn a living should not be contingent on COVID shots,” DeSantis said.

“If someone was forced by their employer to receive a COVID vaccine and had an adverse reaction, that business should be liable since it wasn’t an individual choice,” the Republican governor said October 21.

“It’s not a free choice if you say ‘get a shot or lose your job’ … that’s not a free choice for a lot of people because their livelihood is hanging in the balance,” DeSantis said.

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.