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Iowa OSHA says it will not enforce vaccine mandate, regardless of court decision

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DES MOINES (KWWL) - Iowa OSHA, the body that regulates workplace safety in our state, has said it will not enforce the federal vaccine mandate, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Friday regarding the Emergency Temporary Standard for all employers with over 100 employees to either be vaccinated or do regular COVID-19 testing. President Biden announced the plan in September but it has been slow to take hold due to several legal challenges.

Iowa has a State Plan with the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, meaning it is free to regulate the majority of in-state workers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the only workers not regulated at the state level are:

  • United States Postal Service workers
  • Workers covered under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act
  • Federally-contracted employees
  • Bridge projects across state lines
  • Airline crewmembers who work in the cabin
  • And "any hazard, industry, geographical area, operation or facility over which the State Plan is unable to effectively exercise jurisdiction for reasons not related to the required performance or structure of the plan"

Alex Murphy, spokesperson for Governor Kim Reynolds, said all states with a state plan had until Friday to decide if they would adopt the temporary standard.

“Iowa doesn’t have a standard requiring the Covid-19 vaccine or testing. But after closely reviewing the federal OSHA Vaccine Mandate, Iowa has determined it will not adopt the federal standard. Iowa has concluded that it is not necessary because Iowa’s existing standards are at least as effective as the federal standard change," Iowa Labor Commissioner Rod Roberts said in a press release from the governor's office.

“I applaud Commissioner Roberts’ decision. We are going to continue to protect the freedoms and liberties of Iowans. The Biden Administration continues to ignore the constitutional rights afforded to all Americans, which our country was built on," Gov. Reynolds said in that same press release.