The legislation makes rioting a felony offense, increases penalties on a range of other destructive behaviors, establishes qualified immunity, and increases due process protections for law enforcement. It also holds local governments accountable that prevent local law enforcement from doing their jobs.
“I made it clear in my Condition of the State Address that Iowa’s law enforcement will always have my respect, and I will always have their back,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Today’s bill embodies that commitment in a historic way. The public peace is too important, and the safety of our officers too precious, to tolerate destructive behavior.”
The bill also bans discrimination in the enforcement of the law and establishes a process for citizens who believe their rights have been violated to file a complaint with the state Attorney General. It comes a year after Gov. Reynolds signed the More Perfect Union Act, which enacted significant reforms to policing and passed the Iowa Legislature unanimously in a single day.
“Today’s bill illustrates an important truth: there is no contradiction whatsoever between steadfast support for honorable and selfless law enforcement officers – the vast majority – and a commitment to improving law enforcement,” said Gov. Reynolds.
Governor Reynolds also signed HF 708 at ILEA, a separate bill creating a law enforcement equipment fund in the Department of Public Safety. It was seeded with $5 million in this year’s budget.