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Zach Wahls, Senate Democratic Leader, addresses the Republican rejection of bipartisan policing reform in Iowa:
Mr. President, colleagues of the Senate.
We’ve been having this debate for a while here today, but we all know that this debate really got underway last June.
And in a way it’s been going on for much, much, much longer than that.
But last June, Democrats and Republicans came together. We promised that this was the first step. We promised that we would keep working in a bipartisan way.
Today, Senator Boulton offered an amendment that would have made this bill bipartisan. Maybe we could have gotten a unanimous vote coming out of this chamber to show the people of Iowa that Democrats and Republicans are on the same page when it comes to public safety.
We could have done that. Senate Republicans could have followed the governor’s lead, could have proposed a compromise. There were some real bipartisan agreements over in the House. We could have followed their lead.
And it’s no secret that law enforcement groups have been frustrated throughout this entire process. The groups that represent people across the state who work in law enforcement have been working tirelessly to find that bipartisan compromise. but Senate Republicans wouldn’t take ‘yes’ for an answer, Mister President.
So today we have an amendment that is going to continue to make this a partisan issue, rather than one that we can build consensus around.
Today we have an amendment before us that is not going to move the state forward on racial justice or public safety. as we just heard from the Senators from Polk and from Senator Kinney.
So, Mr. President, I urge a “no” vote on Amendment 3208. Let’s go back to the drawing board. Let’s find some real compromise. Let’s keep our promise to the state of Iowa and I’ll let Senate Republicans break that promise.
Thank you, Mr. President