State of Iowa Archives: on Crime


Joni Ernst: Supported Republican police reform; Democrats walked out

Greenfield: Black and brown communities have faced discrimination, unfair treatment for way too long and we have to take action and take a look at that kind of discrimination and the racism in all of our systems whether it's policing or health care, housing, education, lending. I come from a long line of police officers in my family and Sunday dinners were filled with conversations and stories about protecting and serving.

Ernst: We did have the Justice Act on the floor of the Senate, it was blocked by Senate Democrats. The bill was 70% of what the Democrats had asked for. Senator Tim Scott who had offered the bill said provide me with additional information. They got up and walked out. He was willing to work with them but they didn't want a solution, they wanted a political football. I do feel that we need to work more in our communities of color. I think that's really important.

Source: Iowa Public Television transcript of 2020 Iowa Senate debate Sep 28, 2020

Theresa Greenfield: Address racism, but family cops are about serving

Greenfield: Black and brown communities have faced discrimination, unfair treatment for way too long and we have to take action and take a look at that kind of discrimination and the racism in all of our systems whether it's policing or health care, housing, education, lending. I come from a long line of police officers in my family and Sunday dinners were filled with conversations and stories about protecting and serving.

Ernst: The Justice Act in the Senate was blocked by Senate Democrats.

Source: Iowa Public Television transcript of 2020 Iowa Senate debate Sep 28, 2020

Randy Feenstra: Helped pass bill to crack down on police violence

He helped usher through a reform bill through the Iowa Legislature (House File 2647) that was actually passed unanimously to crack down on unnecessary chokeholds, to allow the attorney general to prosecute police officers, to ensure that people who have perpetrated these kinds of behaviors are not able to move and get rehired.˙
Source: Iowa State Daily on Iowa legislative voting record HF2647 Aug 25, 2020

Chuck Grassley: Supports peer-to-peer counseling & privacy for law officers

[Senator Chuck Grassley joined Senator] Cortez Masto on legislation to encourage the adoption of law enforcement peer counseling programs and protect the privacy of officers. "Peer-to-peer counseling provides valuable mental health support to law enforcement, but a lack of resources and concerns over confidentiality remain barriers to entry for too many departments," said Senator Cortez Masto. " It's time we support public safety officers who are bravely seeking the mental health care they need."
Source: Senate press release for 2022 Iowa Senate race Mar 11, 2020

Kim Reynolds: Priority to focus on prisoner re-entry, rehabilitation

I've made it a priority of this administration to focus on prisoner re-entry and rehabilitation, because our prisons shouldn't be one stop in a circle that leads back to prison. Last year, I signed legislation that protects employers who are willing to give returning citizens a second chance. I am renewing my support to amend our Constitution so that it no longer bars felons from voting after they've served their sentence.
Source: 2020 Iowa State of the State address Jan 14, 2020

Kimberly Graham: Ban private prisons; eliminate mandatory minimums

Source: 2020 Iowa Senate campaign website, KimberlyForIowa.com Jan 12, 2020

Kim Reynolds: Restore ex-felon voting rights

Our constitution takes away the voting rights of anyone convicted of a felony. Forever. The governor can restore those rights, and I have done that 88 times since taking office. But I don't believe that voting rights should be forever stripped, and I don't believe restoration should be in the hands of a single person. Our founders gave us a process to amend the constitution. Let's begin that process now. I believe Iowans recognize the power of redemption; let's put this issue in their hands.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to Iowa legislature Jan 15, 2019

Fred Hubbell: Life sentence is sufficient instead of death penalty

Q. Do you support reinstating the death penalty?

Hubbell: We already have the death sentence, it's called life without parole. The only way you get out is in a box.

Reynolds: No.

Q. Do you favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use?

Reynolds: No

Hubbell: No

Q. Do you favor restricting fireworks again?

Reynolds: That's a local decision, no.

Hubbell: I think it's a local issue.

Source: Des Moines Register on 2018 Iowa gubernatorial debate Oct 10, 2018

Kim Reynolds: Opposes reinstating the death penalty

Q. Do you support reinstating the death penalty?

Hubbell: We already have the death sentence, it's called life without parole. The only way you get out is in a box.

Reynolds: No.

Q. Do you favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use?

Reynolds: No

Hubbell: No

Q. Do you favor restricting fireworks again?

Reynolds: That's a local decision, no.

Hubbell: I think it's a local issue.

Source: Des Moines Register on 2018 Iowa gubernatorial debate Oct 10, 2018

Jake Porter: Stop prosecuting addiction issues and victimless crimes

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Stricter punishment reduces crime"?

A: We should stop prosecuting addiction issues and victimless crimes.˙ Crimes involving others should include restitution to the victims.˙˙

Source: OnTheIssues interview of 2018 Iowa Governor candidate May 18, 2018

Marco Battaglia: End mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Stricter punishment reduces crime"?

A: I support stricter punishments for violent crimes like child abuse and rape. I support getting rid of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes and reducing the number of nonviolent crimes on the books in general. I want to rein in the war on drugs.

Source: OnTheIssues interview of 2018 Iowa Governor candidate May 13, 2018

Cathy Glasson: One-size-fits-all punishment are not fitting the crimes

We can't have a one-size-fits-all approach to sentencing and punishment, especially when˙our criminal justice system disproportionately impacts people of color and people in poverty. Mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug crimes or property crimes have been proven not to work as well in rehabilitating offenders, preventing crimes or reducing recidivism rates. We need to stop wasting money on locking up Iowa's lowest level drug offenders and start looking at smart options.
Source: 2018 Iowa gubernatorial candidate website CathyGlasson.com May 2, 2018

Nate Boulton: Public safety & police can't be done on the cheap

Iowa's public servants, including police officers, firefighters and DHS field staff are the bedrock of building Iowa's safe and secure communities. Their funding has been cut, their rights to better wages and benefits rolled back, and even their very safety put at risk from reduced staffing levels. If we are going to have safe and secure communities we must once again give our public servants the resources they need to be successful.
Source: 2018 Iowa gubernatorial campaign website BoultonForIowa.com Jul 17, 2017

Patty Judge: Reform mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders

Q: Do you support legislation to reform mandatory sentencing laws so low-risk non-violent offenders aren't required to serve long sentences at taxpayer expense?

Patty Judge: We need to reform our criminal justice system, including mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders. Taxpayers are spending far too much on housing inmates for long periods of time, when they could be better served through treatment and rehabilitation programs.

Source: Vote411.org League of Women Voters on 2016 Iowa Senate Race Sep 19, 2016

Terry Branstad: Rehabilitation over punishment to reduce recidivism

We are seeing a decline in our prison population and a reduction in recidivism. We are more focused on providing individuals with skills they need to have rewarding careers upon release, including apprenticeships within the institutions. The Department of Corrections has reduced phone fees as increased communications between inmates and their families can lead to a lower rate of reoffending. And in many cases, tax dollars are better spent on rehabilitation rather than incarceration.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Iowa legislature Jan 12, 2016

Terry Branstad: Investigate wrongful convictions, especially for racial bias

We need to take steps to make sure that when our criminal justice system does impose punishment, that we punish the right person and that race does not play a role.

In the executive branch we recently established a new Wrongful Conviction Division to investigate wrongful convictions of innocent people. These efforts will not only bring justice for those who have been wrongfully incarcerated, but will protect public safety by ensuring the right person is held responsible when a crime is committed.

Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Iowa legislature Jan 12, 2016

Chuck Grassley: Expand mandatory minimum s for firearm & terrorism offenses

[In the bipartisan package of criminal justice reforms], Grassley's influence can be seen in provisions that increase the use of mandatory minimums. [One analyst] summarizes that the new bill would "expand mandatory minimum sentences for certain offenses, enhancing their use to punish selected firearm crimes and creating new mandatory minimums for offenses related to domestic violence and supporting terrorism." These changes "may address one of the common criticisms of mandatory minimums, which can result in heavier penalties for drug crimes than far graver offenses, such as violent crime."

Current firearm-related provisions dictate draconian penalties for people who never actually wield a gun--[the new package imposes] longer sentences for "selected firearm crimes." Likewise with "new mandatory minimums" for "supporting terrorism," which can include nonviolent actions such as donating money to the wrong charity or even exercising the right to freedom of speech.

Source: Reason Magazine on 2016 Iowa Senate race Oct 1, 2015

Doug Butzier: Stricter punishment doesn't reduce crime

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Stricter punishment reduces crime"?

A: I disagree with this statement.

Source: E-mail interview: 2014 Iowa Senate race with OnTheIssues.org Sep 17, 2014

Joni Ernst: Independently investigate sexual crime in military

Joni Ernst, who served more than 20 years in the military, said that she was sexually harassed in the military and, given her experience, is backing the removal of cases of sexual assault from the military chain of command, a position that puts her at odds with much of the GOP.

Ernst tells TIME, "These were some things where I was able to say stop and it simply stopped but there are other circumstances both for women and for men where they don't stop and they may be afraid to report it. Legislation must ensure that sexual crimes in the military are both independently investigated and prosecuted." [The Pentagon opposes independent investigations, requiring that reports go through the military chain of command].

Sexual assault in the military is reaching epidemic proportions, discouraging many women from enlisting. In 2012, of the 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact in the military only 3,000 were reported and only 400 went to trial.

Source: Time magazine on 2014 Iowa Senate debates Aug 15, 2014

Terry Branstad: Retroactively allow DNA evidence for all felony convictions

Source: Iowa legislative voting records for H.F. 527 May 15, 2013

Rob Hogg: Retroactively allow DNA evidence for all felony convictions

Source: Iowa legislative voting records for H.F. 527 May 1, 2013

Chet Culver: $205M for new prison & improving old prison infrastructure

OnTheIssues notes:This list captures all expenditures over $20M. Most are prison spending; the line-item veto is not about that.

Governor's line-item veto: