BREAKING: Iowa Governor Signs Bill to Increase Penalties For 'Protest-Related' Crimes

By Cassandra Fairbanks

Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that will increase punishment for protest-related crimes.

The “Back the Blue” bill, signed into law on Thursday, will also strengthen legal protections for police officers.

Under the new law, rioting will be increased to a felony from its former misdemeanor status. It will also increase penalties for blocking streets or highways, CBS reports. Additionally, it introduces a new penalty for people who attend a lawful protest that turns unlawful, and do not leave when ordered to do so by law enforcement.

For police officers, the bill strengthens qualified immunity, making it more difficult to sue them individually for misconduct.

“We encourage First Amendment rights to protest peacefully, but if you break the law, you’re going to be held accountable,” Reynolds said during the bill signing.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has opposed the bill, claiming that it will deter legal protest and is an “attack on free speech.”

Mark Stringer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, said in a statement that the ACLU “always stands ready to bring litigation as necessary to protect the right to peaceful protest in Iowa.”

Governor Reynolds has dismissed their concerns.

“Like so many Iowans, I was raised to be grateful to the heroes who patrol our streets at great personal risk and sacrifice and tragically, this fundamental and wholesome part of America’s culture is now under vicious attack,” she said.

Activist groups also raised concerns about the laws impacting a “disproportionate” number of black activists.

“Don’t break the law and it won’t apply to you,” Reynolds said in response on Thursday.

“If you riot, if you loot, if you attack our law officers, then you will be punished to the full extent of the law,” Reynolds said. “The public peace is too important, and the safety of our officers too precious, to tolerate destructive behavior.”

Reynolds also signed a bill into law last year banning police chokeholds to try and curb misconduct from law enforcement after meeting with Black Lives Matter activists.

“There’s no contradiction between steadfast support for honorable and selfless police officers — the vast majority — and a commitment to improving policing,” she said, according to a report from the Des Moines Register. “There’s no contradiction between world class investigation and treating victims of crime the way we ourselves would want to be treated. And there’s no contradiction between vigorous policing and the community outreach that builds trust between law enforcement and everyday Iowans.”

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52 responses to “BREAKING: Iowa Governor Signs Bill to Increase Penalties For ‘Protest-Related’ Crimes”

  1. 1984ishere says:

    kudos to the gov! these crime sprees have to stop!

  2. zepolkram says:


  3. zepolkram says:

    2nd Amendment, dude!!! Come on man… At least he didn’t have a shotgun!!! 🙂

  4. zepolkram says:


  5. zepolkram says:

    Cassandra, GIGITTY!!! Yes, toxic masculinity at its finest… Love your unbiased approach…

  6. zepolkram says:

    Then PROTEST properly… Come on man…

  7. zepolkram says:

    Simple, Ideologs are dumb…

  8. zepolkram says:

    Maybe, you forgot what happened during this last year, JACKASS!!! I hate to say it, but make a stand dude!!!

  9. zepolkram says:

    Amen, brother… 🙂

  10. zepolkram says:

    Simple, FUCK The ACLU!!!! CUNTS!!!

  11. MarkVA71 says:

    It’s probably good to cut out the dopamine hits we get from ‘liking’ or getting likes on posts on other social media sites.

  12. MarkVA71 says:

    I agree. It’s pretty annoying. Also, if there’s a video playing when you post a comment it will stop playing.

  13. MarkVA71 says:

    The ACLU has become such a disappointment. We need a new organization to replace them to fight for actual civil liberties for all Americans!

  14. GuidingSails says:

    Why is the comment box at the bottom?

    Also, we need to be VERY careful with these kinds of laws. For the most part, I’m on board with the ideas. But it’s a REALLY easy way to get rid of any kind of protesting or free speech.

    Generally, when you should question a bill that comes up because of some “event”. It’s generally an over-reaction, maybe purposeful thanks to the powers that be. Good laws are written with forethought and discussion. Bad laws are often written as a reaction (think the Patriot Act).

    So yeah. Be careful.

  15. ChildishUzumaki says:

    They need to add “reacts” to the comment section. lol I’d give yours a thumbs up.

  16. BFairfax123 says:

    Since 88+% of Iowans are White why would the ACLU think Black Iowans would be disproportionately affected ? They think that Black people are the only ones who have issues with the way things are going in the US right now? Since only 3.3% of the people in Iowa are Black it’s a tiny minority even if every Black person in Iowa thought the same which it’s ridiculous to think they do . So who is complaining about this law maybe just the ACLU .

  17. BxIrish says:

    I appreciate the intent, but way too likely to be abused.

  18. EmperorReno1st says:

    I think constitutional carry, which starts July 1st in Iowa, will have a much larger impact than these laws. You loot- we shoot.

  19. Corey says:

    It is the University of Colorado where the Professor first wrote that all racist violence is the fault of white supremacy.

    I am from STL so respect GP. I think you made a smart move. No matter how Hard Tim Fights it , he will never give his blue pill

  20. NewDawn says:

    Not a fan. A felony is a big deal. This will probably have a chilling effect on peaceful protesters wanting to protest. We all know how easy it is for the DA to throw shit at the wall and hope it sticks. I also think that it’s too much consequence and ripe for abuse.

  21. DrMikeinPDX says:

    Good non-biased newswriting. That is so rare these days. Hope to see more.

  22. NicoC says:

    I’m impressed with the reporting in the article. Straightforward and just the facts. Great work!

  23. Crowfficial says:

    Glad to see you on the team Cassandra, I look forward to more news from you and the Timcast crew.

  24. noveria says:


  25. Thank you Cassandra!
    Glad to see you on the team.
    Appreciate you integrity!

  26. Stonespeaker says:

    It can be legal to protest in the street if the municipality allows it, generally under permit. This does not necessarily happy to state and federal highways or private roads that don’t belong to an organizer of the protest.

  27. Frost27 says:

    I’d really like to know how the ACLU thinks this will disproportionately effect black Iowans. They’ve become an activist group.

    I will say that I live in Iowa and the protests have been very mild. Shortly after Floyd died, we had some broken windows at a Target (and one burning dumpster) and then it turned into a fairly peaceful civil disobedience after they got the initial troublemakers contained.

    After that some girl got BLM to come down and protest because she was a temp worker that didn’t get offered a permanent position at her job so it was clearly racism. They damaged a cop car and annoyed shoppers at a grocery store, that’s about it.

    We haven’t seen anything like other states have but I’m glad we have a state government that is actually protecting the innocent and punishing people that break the law.

  28. henk says:

    i don’t think this solves anything, it might discourage protests a little bit but that’s not a good thing in a free country. the problem isn’t the law. the problem is the enforcement of the law. laws already existed for thieves, arsonists, assaulters, etc. it’s about convicting every person that commits a crime and ensuring that your police officers do there jobs properly and that the courts do there jobs properly. there’s not an easy solution, you just need law and order.

  29. DorseyWoods says:

    Also… really enjoying your contribution to the Timcast brand, Cassandra. Thanks for your time and effort.

  30. DorseyWoods says:

    This needs to be the norm… for over a war we’ve allowed domestic terrorism to run rampant on our streets. The ideology of those luting and burning is such that it goes against everything America stands for. How they’ve been allowed to carry on this way for so long is beyond me.

  31. CivilLib says:

    “Lawfully protesting in the street.”

    What an oxymoron.

  32. EvanW says:

    We Love You Cassandra!! Glad to see you on board with Tim to start this new venture!

  33. Shuckee says:

    Do these people even hear themselves? “Attack on free speech.” I understand. Cuz I get upset too when I can’t smash the local Apple store and steal – I’m sorry, procure fairly the newest iPhone because “ree-ree capitalism bad.”

  34. The crowd always has the option to “out” the infiltrators. Alternatively, if/when things go south, they can leave when told to do so. That seems to be the crux of the issue, most times, the “you can’t tell me what to do “ attitude that causes people to stay when they should protect themselves by simply leaving.

  35. Killerbill8 says:

    My thoughts exactly.

  36. TheDarkworld says:

    Love your take on that

  37. TheDarkworld says:

    Glad to have helped steal you from the pundit 🇺🇲

  38. PandaSub2000 says:

    Nice to read news free of bias. Just give me the news. Hear the different viewpoints. Fantastic! Thanks Cassandra!

  39. Martin9 says:

    Yeah I’ve got to think they may have gone the wrong way here. Too easy for a crowd to be infiltrated and. Deemed hostile as a way to China them. I’d think that more freedom to counter protest and defend property would be useful. Negating laws during said riot could be useful to free up opposition and balance during protests. Letting Kyle Rittenhouse and others defend themselves during said riots without any fear of law or prosecution may serve to make them peaceful. Leftists won’t fear Iowa laws but they might think twice if about damage if property defense isn’t looked at as something prosecutable. More freedom is needed and not less. Cops only arrive after the crime.

  40. uPpItYsLaVe says:

    Great to find you here Cassandra! Appreciate your lack of spin! I am looking forward to reading your content.

  41. Stickywicket1977 says:

    Hey Timcast crew, I haven’t heard you guys talking about the 3 Tacoma PD officers that were arrested years after the incident of the arrest and death of a person getting arrested.

    Thanks for the articles!

  42. Baronhalt8 says:

    Make America Florida

  43. Bryan_Liem says:

    Good news to read, thanks! The Democrats ARE gangsters! And they are looking for us, to stomp out any hint of disagreement with their anti-American vision for the USA. F the Democrats! Defund the Democrats!

  44. UppityG says:

    Very much looking forward to getting more of my news here. Glad to see you and Pool team up on this venture. Do not get a monkey, get a sugar glider, if you simply must own a creature other than a dog or cat. I’m not on Twitter so, no worries. 😘

  45. KFendley says:

    Love you Cassandra!

  46. Jman0404 says:

    Not a fan of the state having more power… I don’t know what the alternative is though…

  47. Turk_Longwell says:

    She bent the knee early-on to the BLM Extremists last June with the choke hold ban.
    — “This bill is a loud and resounding signal from the people of Iowa and its leaders that we are ready and willing to act,” Reynolds said before she signed the measure. Reynolds acknowledged the work of activists who have protested on the streets in recent weeks, saying she plans to continue pushing for racial justice reform. “To the thousands of Iowans who have taken to the streets calling for reforms to address inequities faced by people of color in our state, I want you to know that this is not the end of our work, it is just the beginning,” she said. —
    So after a year of violence from these “Activists”, she realized that she was wrong to bend the knee.
    I’m glad she took this step, but it shows you that bending the knee doesn’t solve the problem and most likely makes it worse.
    She’s still sketchy in my book.

  48. Dr.ZobonZogon100011 says:

    This is one of those laws that can and may be used the right way… but has a potential of being used against the wrong people. There are some good things in the bill. Expanding qualified immunity can help protect law abiding officers doing their job, something that law abiding cops deserve. Raisng the penalty for rioting to a felony should prevent buildings from being torched and shops from getting looted. Eliminating liability for drivers who hit protesters can go either way… but I think its overall a good idea. There is a chance of people running people over and getting away with it because they can make it look like it was provoked(Probably unlikely but possible,) The provision that “allows law enforcement employees, prosecuting attorneys and judicial officers to take steps to keep their addresses confidential. ” is a law that makes sense. Im sure a lot of these officers deserve more money than they are getting, and this bill seems to adress and try to fix it. I don’t like the fact they are expanding the definition of unlawful assembly to include joining a lawful assembly but willingly remaining after that assembly becomes unlawful. Whats to stop them from using that on a peaceful crowd in the future. Im not saying it will… I’m saying it can. Things can go south real fast.. All in all I agree with 50-60 percent of it. I guess we will see how it plays out..

  49. Yobuyahouse says:

    Woot go Iowa!

  50. kd1151 says:

    We need more people like her. I want DeWine out of Columbus.

  51. Feddy_Von_Wigglestein says:

    ACLU is implying only black people riot. How racist.

  52. Growler says:

    Good , It’s better than what New Hampshire is doing. GOvenor Sunu there gutted the bill that was to stop CRT from being taught in schools and State Workers.