Media Contact

Veronica Fowler, ACLU of Iowa Communications Director
veronica.fowler@aclu-ia.org
515-451-1777

February 3, 2021

The following statement can be attributed to Mark Stringer, ACLU of Iowa Executive Director, on SSB 1140.

"We are extremely disappointed with this bill and we oppose it in the strongest possible terms. Passage of this bill would cause Iowans more harm than good. It would undo years of progress in criminal justice reform, and would pit the government against Iowans and our constitution. 

This bill is being proposed as something to prevent racial profiling and help ensure that all Iowans are treated equally by law enforcement, regardless of the color of their skin. Instead, we have a bill that would do none of that and would actually enable government to block movement forward on racial justice issues.

This proposed legislation is also a full-blown assault on Iowans’ fundamental rights to free speech and assembly. If enacted, for example, this bill would give sweeping new powers to the government to detain people even before they are found guilty of any crime. This bill is wholly inconsistent with our democracy's history, our values as Iowans, and our U.S. and Iowa Constitutions. It should never become law.

The government has the responsibility to protect our free speech rights. This proposal however turns government power into a tool to stifle free expression, and to end due process in Iowa. We respectfully ask the Legislature to stop this bill from becoming law. Instead, our lawmakers must pass meaningful racial justice reform in Iowa, starting with a full ban on racial profiling."