Gov. Kim Reynolds signs new law banning government mask mandates


Gov. Kim Reynolds passed a bill banning mask mandates in the state of Iowa.

Jack Nichols

The Story County Board of Health met Thursday to discuss a repeal or extension of Ames’ mask mandate based on new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for fully vaccinated people.

While the board in the past has had the authority to mandate mask policy for the county, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds trumped that authority.

Reynolds signed in a new law Thursday afternoon that prevents K-12 schools and cities and counties from requiring masks inside businesses. 

The bill passed both the House and Senate along party-line votes.

This still allows for private businesses and individuals to require masks on their private property, such as a grocery store still requiring masks.

“The state of Iowa 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 decisions,” Reynolds said in a press release. “I am proud to be a governor of a state that values personal responsibility and individual liberties.”

The new law has forced many Iowa school districts to change their policy for the upcoming school year. Many districts, including Des Moines Public Schools, were planning to mandate masks for students and faculty.

Those opposed to the bill argue that it puts children and teachers at risk. Des Moines Public Schools issued a statement after Reynolds signed the bill and encouraged students to still wear masks when in school. 

Iowa State University announced in an email that the previously planned mask policies for campus have been suspended to comply with Reynolds’ newly signed law. Now, Iowa State faculty may not require masks or social distancing.

While not required, masks are recommended for those who have not been vaccinated, and those who are eligible are encouraged to get the vaccine.