Below please see a statement from ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer speaking out against SSB 1140, which has been promoted as a racial profiling bill but would actually give sweeping new powers to Iowa government to crack down on fundamental free speech rights and change our criminal justice system in important, destructive ways.
“We are extremely disappointed with this bill and we oppose it in the strongest possible terms. Passage of this bill would cause Iowans more harm than good. It would undo years of progress in criminal justice reform, and would pit the government against Iowans and our constitution.
This bill is being proposed as something to prevent racial profiling and help ensure that all Iowans are treated equally by law enforcement, regardless of the color of their skin. Instead, we have a bill that would do none of that and would actually enable government to block movement forward on racial justice issues.
This proposed legislation is also a full-blown assault on Iowans’ fundamental rights to free speech and assembly. If enacted, for example, this bill would give sweeping new powers to the government to detain people even before they are found guilty of any crime. This bill is wholly inconsistent with our democracy’s history, our values as Iowans, and our U.S. and Iowa Constitutions. It should never become law.
The government has the responsibility to protect our free speech rights. This proposal however turns government power into a tool to stifle free expression, and to end due process in Iowa. We respectfully ask the Legislature to stop this bill from becoming law. Instead, our lawmakers must pass meaningful racial justice reform in Iowa, starting with a full ban on racial profiling.”