Kim Reynolds, Iowa governor, signs police reform bill that was passed in one day


“To the thousands of Iowans who have taken to the streets calling for reforms to address inequalities faced by people of color in our state, I want you to know this is not the end of our work. It is just the beginning,” Reynolds, a Republican, said in a signing ceremony at the state capitol.

Reynolds said the bill adds “additional accountability” for law enforcement that benefits both the community and police.

As she signed the bill, a chant of “black lives matter” broke out.

In a remarkable move, the Iowa legislature on Thursday introduced, debated and unanimously passed House File 2647 all within a day.

“It will go down as one of this legislature’s finest hours,” Reynolds said Friday.

The president of the statewide Iowa Peace Officers Association, Mason City Police Department Capt. Mike McKelvey, told CNN that the law enforcement association supports the bill. CNN has reached out to the Iowa State Police Association, which calls itself the largest police association in the state, for comment.

The bill was crafted in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man killed at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis last month, and protests in Iowa and the nation against racism and police brutality.

“The past couple of weeks have led to some genuine soul-searching. The upsetting tragedy, the crime that took George Floyd’s life in a street in Minneapolis opened the eyes of a nation and sparked a movement. It also reinforced the message of our African American brothers and sisters that have been telling us for years that injustice exists and is unacceptable,” Reynolds said Friday.

The bill prohibits the use of a chokehold in an arrest, except when a person cannot be captured any other way or has used or threatened deadly force.

It prevents an officer from being hired in Iowa if they have a previous felony conviction, were fired for misconduct, or left before they could be fired for misconduct.

The bill allows the Iowa attorney general to prosecute a criminal offense committed by an officer if their actions result in the death of another. The bill also mandates yearly anti-bias and deescalation training for law enforcement.

On Thursday, Iowa Republican Majority Leader Matt Windschitl and Democratic leader Todd Prichard introduced the legislation, House File 2647, which sailed through the House Judiciary Committee. A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate.

The House voted 98-0 Thursday night and the Senate followed with a 49-0 vote.

Addressing the chamber, Windschitl said in the 14 years he’s been a legislator, “I’ve never seen a bill be run simultaneously through both chambers that was introduced on one day, run through committee on the same day and it’s going to go to the governor’s desk tonight.”

“This body in 10 days, through hard work and critical conversations, were able to make significant steps in addressing historic injustices in our country,” Democratic state Rep. Ras Smith, who is one of five black lawmakers in the chamber, said on the House floor Thursday.

After the bill passed in the House, cheers erupted and the House’s black lawmakers raised their fists in the air.

In a passionate speech on the House floor before the bill’s vote, Democratic Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad thanked activists of the Des Moines Black Lives Matter chapter, who sat in the gallery for the vote, as the “game changers,””because you have made us all listen.”

To his colleagues, he said, “Not only are you a part of history, you are rectifying history.”

Democratic state Rep. Ross Wilburn, a black lawmaker, said Thursday the police bill is an “important first step” but said that work has to continue on “other parts of criminal justice reform.”

After meeting with Reynolds on Friday, Des Moines Black Lives Matter activists said that the governor committed to drafting an executive order that would reinstate the voting rights of Iowans who have completed their felony sentences. The activists said Reynolds would allow them to review the draft in another meeting Monday.

Last week, the governor had signed a bill that would allow for a constitutional amendment that would restore felon voting rights upon discharge after completion of their sentences.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.