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GOP lawmakers looking to pass bill discouraging local gov'ts from cutting police budgets

(WWMT/Jason Heeres)
(WWMT/Jason Heeres)
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Iowa Republican lawmakers are looking to pass a bill denying local governments state aid if elected officials decide to cut police funding.

Senate File 479 proposes cities and counties will not be eligible for state funding if they reduce funds for their law enforcement agencies.

The bill began as a senate study bill and a subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Chris Cournoyer (R), pushed the bill forward to become Senate File 479.

"We've heard from people from all over the state," Sen. Cournoyer told Iowa's News Now, Monday. "They are very concerned the calls for defunding the police and what that could mean for public safety."

Under the bill, there are exceptions for local entities who cut police funding.

"There are appropriate justifications--in terms of--if your population is declining, or if you combined with another department services," Cournoyer said. "Perfectly legitimate reasons for lowering your law enforcement budget in your municipalities."

Sen. Nate Boulton (D) is also on the subcommittee that pushed the bill forward. He didn't sign off on the process.

"There's no evidence that this Republican plan will actually improve public safety," Boulton said. "Instead of playing political games, Republican legislators should be working with local police departments to make our communities safer. It isn't political courage to do this. It's essentially cowardice to have the state say 'don't cut your budget' without backing it up with any investment in local law enforcement."

Cournoyer cited concerns in Minneapolis following protests for the murder of George Floyd.

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If the bill becomes law, it will take effect July 1.

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