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On Thursday June 10th the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate made history by introducing a bill in both chambers, moving it through subcommittee and committee, then to the floor of both chambers, and passing it unanimously and sending it to the Governor for signature.  This bill, named “Justice Reform” by us but misnamed “Police Misconduct Reform” by newspapers was historic for several reasons and was much needed.

I support police 100 percent and understand they have a tough job and they do their best in almost all circumstances.  It is the rare circumstance where they step outside the bounds of what is right.  The bill that was passed on June 10th is supportive of the 99.9 percent of our police officers while at the same time recognizes that in every population, we have bad actors. 

I also support the protests that have occurred in the aftermath of horrific actions in Minneapolis.  Peaceful protests are within the purview of our Constitution and the way good change is made in this country.  I do not support the riots that a few bad actors have forced onto the peaceful many.  Those riots have been costly in lives, property, and good grace and risk drowning out the message of the peaceful many. That is a tragic and sad thing.  The riots are led by people who prefer anarchy over peace and prosperity.  If you would like to learn more about my feelings on Antifa and other fascist groups, you can simply go to a previous newsletter from 2017 where I talk about them.  It is located here:  https://mailchi.mp/legis/fascist-or-anti-fascist-does-it-matter

The bill that was passed out of both the House and the Senate and the Governor will sign on June 12, 2020 included the following points:

  • Allows the Attorney General to investigate when someone is killed by a police officer, and prosecute if a criminal act has been committed.
  • Prohibits the use of a chokehold, except in very limited circumstances where death or serious injury is likely.
  • Prevents law enforcement officers who have been fired for serious misconduct from future employment as a law enforcement officer in Iowa.
  • Requires law enforcement to go through new annual training to prevent racial profiling, reduce bias, and employ de-escalation techniques.

This bill is pro-police and is supported by Iowa law enforcement. It does nothing to harm good, honest police officers who are doing their jobs to keep Iowans safe. This legislation is intended to hold bad actors accountable.

While this bill does not solve the issue of discrimination or racism, it is certainly good first step forward. House Republicans are committed to making continued progress to reduce racial disparities and injustices. Iowa has always been a leader in civil rights and this legislation continues to advance that cause.

John Wills

Author: John Wills