Iowa legislature advances bills that would penalize cities that cut police budgets

Iowa legislature advances bills that would penalize cities that cut police budgets
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Committees in the Iowa state House and state Senate advanced legislation that would cut state funding to jurisdictions that cut their police budgets by a greater percentage than their overall budgets.

“State funds shall be denied to a local entity pursuant to subsection 1 by all state agencies for each state fiscal year that begins after the fiscal year in which the law enforcement agency’s budget is reduced,” the Senate bill reads

The bill passed through the Senate panel on Monday, the Des Moines Register reported. An identical House bill passed through a subcommittee on Tuesday. 

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If a city or county wants to reduce the police budget, they have to justify the reduction and get approval from the state for it. 

Republicans, who control the state legislature praised the bill, which follows racial justice protests that engulfed the country last summer and calls to "defund the police."

However, others in Iowa say the bill is unnecessary and takes too much power away from local governments. 

Jamie Cashman, a lobbyist for the Iowa State Association of Counties and the Iowa State Association of County Supervisors, said that there aren’t any counties considering cutting the police budget and the bill “is a solution in search of a nonexistent problem.”

The bill is part of a larger policing bill Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds is pushing. Although some parts of the bill have been praised and are making its way through the legislature, other parts have been criticized, according to Des Moines Register. 

"There’s some good things in there we intend to do, and there’s some things that we don’t have consensus to move forward (on), whether it’s in the committee or the caucus as a whole," Republican state Rep. Jarad Klein said. 

Other parts of Reynolds’ bill include increased penalties for those who assault a police officer and banning racial profiling.