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Reynolds' bill to ban racial profiling fails to advance for the second year in a row

police car
Diego Parra
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proposal to ban racial profiling by law enforcement is likely dead for the second year in a row.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proposal to ban racial profiling by law enforcement is likely dead for the second year in a row.

The bill was filed just a few days ahead of a Friday legislative deadline, and Republican leaders declined to bring it up for a single hearing.

Reynolds was asked about it Friday during a taping of Iowa Press on Iowa PBS.

“Not everything that I put forward, you know, I can’t make it happen,” Reynolds said. “I work, we tried, we talked to them, we educate them, I continue to put the bill forward just like we did this year. I told individuals I would go forward with that again, and we did and continued to work on it. And so we’ll continue to work on it and continue to do what we can to make progress.”

Last year, she talked about banning racial profiling in her condition of the state address after putting together a task force to work on the topic.

But she put the anti-racial profiling legislation in a larger bill along with increased penalties for protest-related offenses and various police protections. Republican lawmakers passed some of those policies, but not the one addressing racial profiling.

Iowa-Nebraska NAACP President Betty Andrews served as co-chair of the committee that spent months putting together anti-racial profiling recommendations in 2020. Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg was the other co-chair.

Andrews emphasized that the bill was introduced this year just a few days before a legislative deadline.

“With that kind of short timeline and short turnaround, having it survive was probably not going to happen,” she said. “That didn’t give it much chance to be supported and rallied around.”

Andrews said she appreciates that the governor introduced it but she hopes more time is given to discuss the bill next session.

Reynolds does not appear to have publicly advocated for her standalone anti-racial profiling bill this year.

Andrews said the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP will continue to push for the bill.

“The NAACP feels that the impact of not passing this legislation … sends the message that Iowa is not a state that is for everyone,” Andrews said. “To ensure the right of citizens to feel safe in their cars is extremely important.”

The bill would also require law enforcement agencies to collect data on traffic stops that include the race and ethnicity of the person being stopped or arrested. The state would report all that data along with analysis each year.

Under the bill, Iowans would have to report their race and ethnicity to the Department of Transportation when applying for a driver’s license or non-operator’s ID.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter