Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed Iowa Senate File 342 (the controversial Back the Blue Law) into law on June 17 – and the Democrats and ACLU are furious. It not only strengthens Qualified Immunity, but increased the penalties for rioting to a felony as well as certain other crimes involved in any unlawful assembly.
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“Don’t break the law and it won’t apply to you…If you riot, if you loot, if you attack our law officers, then you will be punished to the full extent of the law. The public peace is too important, and the safety of our officers too precious, to tolerate destructive behavior.”Iowa governor Kim Reynolds
Senate File 342
- The law sets higher penalties for rioting and unlawful assembly. It expands definitions of other crimes like assault, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and harassment. It also adds interference with public disorder control as a gross misdemeanor.
- The law expanded qualified immunity to protect officers from lawsuits, which simply raised Iowa to the standard used by the Federal Government, according to the Des Moines Register.
- It grants drivers who injure someone who is blocking traffic immunity from civil lawsuit, as long as they were “exercising due care” and not engaging in willful reckless conduct.
- It adds eluding an unmarked police vehicle as a crime.
- It makes changes to worker’s compensation benefits and health insurance for law enforcement officers.
- It penalizes any city or law enforcement entity that adopts policies that discourage enforcement of state, local or municipal laws.
Under the new law, if an officer was found justified by whatever legal entity determined it, he or she has a stronger immunity from lawsuits than the previous law.
Democrats and activists vow to sue the city the first time a “peaceful protester” is denied their civil rights. They are upset that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds didn’t “reach out to them” for this bill. First off, that is erroneous. The Legislature passed the bill, not the Governor.
Last year, the Iowa legislature passed a “police accountability law.” Activists say this new law goes “backwards.” The Governor has promised to promote a bill next year to stop “racial profiling.” Many of the activists say they don’t believe her on that score.
With the damages and out of control conduct during the so-called “protests” over the last year and a half, something like this was inevitable. As Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds stated, “Don’t break the law and it won’t apply to you.”
Featured photo: Screenshot via KCCI
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