Local control dispute brewing over Iowa mask mandates | Health and Fitness


County supervisors in Story County, the location of Ames and Iowa State University, are scheduled to consider a mask resolution on Tuesday after the county board of health voted last week to recommend a countywide mask requirement.

“With schools and colleges planning to convene this summer and fall, the approach of flu season, and current lack of a vaccine or post-infection immunity, the time to act is now,” the board of health wrote in a letter to the supervisors.

ISU students are returning to campus and the university reported Friday that 66 students moving onto campus housing tested positive for coronavirus.

The supervisors sought the opinion of Frank Feilmeyer, an Ames attorney and former president of the Iowa Municipal Attorneys Association, who said he believes local governments can enact such requirements.

“It is my conclusion, based on the Iowa Constitution, multiple Iowa statutes, and a considerable body of Iowa case law, that local government does have authority to regulate aspects of public health,” he said in a memorandum to the board.

Reynolds has encouraged Iowans to wear a mask when they cannot stay a safe distance from others in public places and she has said businesses, schools, and government officials can require masks inside their buildings.

“I just don’t believe that a one-size-fits-all from a government mandate is the right direction,” she said.

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