FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lani Prunés
Conservative Support Grows for Iowa Sentencing Reform Bill
Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition latest to endorse House-passed
legislation that awaits Senate approval
Des Moines, Iowa – The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition is the latest conservative-oriented organization to throw its support behind sentencing reform legislation, HF 579, that would fix some of the flaws in Iowa’s mandatory sentencing system.
The endorsement from the influential statewide grassroots organization follows a week highlighted by a unanimous 97-0 vote in the Iowa House of Representatives and a cascade of endorsements from leading conservative voices such as Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, and the American Conservative Union.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Altoona) now awaits consideration by the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Sentencing reform should no longer be viewed as a right versus left issue. It is a people issue, which is why more than 30 states have reconsidered mandatory minimum laws and are rejecting the one-size-fits-all approach of the past. Reforming mandatory minimum laws will yield safer communities and more efficient use of taxpayer dollars on true threats to public safety,” said Kevin Ring, President of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
“To be effective and just, punishments must fit the crime and the offender. Some mandatory minimum sentences can violate this rule,” said Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition President Steve Scheffler. “HF 579 includes a solution to this problem by letting courts give punishments other than the mandatory minimum if doing so prevents injustice and does not harm public safety.
“These reforms give courts more options for keeping offenders with their families or reuniting families sooner. In addition to promoting public safety, these reforms will strengthen and encourage hundreds of Iowa families, spouses, children, and parents.”
Ring said timing is of the essence and the groups are encouraging the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Iowa Senate to approve these reforms as soon as possible.
He concluded by noting that the Iowa House-passed bill is similar to legislation that other lawmakers have adopted in states as varied as Oklahoma, Georgia, Maryland, and South Carolina.
“These states are reducing prison populations and costs and seeing crime decline, too. By applying mandatory minimum sentences in fewer cases, Iowa can increase public safety, reduce its prison population, save taxpayers money, and strengthen and keep families together,” Ring said.
More information about the sentencing reform effort underway in Iowa is available at http://famm.org/states-map/iowa/.
FAMM, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, promotes commonsense sentencing and prison policies that increase public safety.
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