Governor Reynolds signs new law banning face mask mandates

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 3:15 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A new law in Iowa bans local entities, including school districts, from requiring face masks. Early Thursday morning the Governor’s office announced Reynolds’ signed House file 847 into law.

The Iowa House and Senate passed the bill Wednesday, the last day of the legislative session. Lawmakers moved the amendment to an education bill. It would ban superintendents, principals, and school board members from implementing mask mandates for students *and employees. The amendment would also ban county and city leaders from making *stricter mask policies than the state’s own policies for private businesses.

House Republicans say this is what their community members want.

“This is about freedom. This is about liberty,” said Rep. Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison. “In my district alone, numerous parents have had enough and now since this began I have received hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of emails.”

But Democrats say they’re worried about the future, saying the ban could cause harm if a pandemic or different outbreak happens in the future. They say schools and communities won’t have the tools to do what’s best for them.

“The people in one school board, in one school district, might have very different needs than in another,” said Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, a Democrat from Windsor Heights. “So who are we to say what you can and can’t do to help your kids stay safe in a community?”

Republicans say the governor could still issue emergency proclamations which takes precedence.

Governor Reynolds released a statement early Thursday morning on the new law.

“The state is putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decision.”

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