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Joni Ernst on Crime

 

 


Supported Republican police reform; Democrats walked out

Greenfield: Black and brown communities have faced discrimination, unfair treatment for way too long and we have to take action and take a look at that kind of discrimination and the racism in all of our systems whether it's policing or health care, housing, education, lending. I come from a long line of police officers in my family and Sunday dinners were filled with conversations and stories about protecting and serving.

Ernst: We did have the Justice Act on the floor of the Senate, it was blocked by Senate Democrats. The bill was 70% of what the Democrats had asked for. Senator Tim Scott who had offered the bill said provide me with additional information. They got up and walked out. He was willing to work with them but they didn't want a solution, they wanted a political football. I do feel that we need to work more in our communities of color. I think that's really important.

Source: Iowa Public Television transcript of 2020 Iowa Senate debate , Sep 28, 2020

Independently investigate sexual crime in military

Joni Ernst, who served more than 20 years in the military, said that she was sexually harassed in the military and, given her experience, is backing the removal of cases of sexual assault from the military chain of command, a position that puts her at odds with much of the GOP.

Ernst tells TIME, "These were some things where I was able to say stop and it simply stopped but there are other circumstances both for women and for men where they don't stop and they may be afraid to report it. Legislation must ensure that sexual crimes in the military are both independently investigated and prosecuted." [The Pentagon opposes independent investigations, requiring that reports go through the military chain of command].

Sexual assault in the military is reaching epidemic proportions, discouraging many women from enlisting. In 2012, of the 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact in the military only 3,000 were reported and only 400 went to trial.

Source: Time magazine on 2014 Iowa Senate debates , Aug 15, 2014

First step: reduce recidivism & mass incarceration.

Ernst voted YEA First Step Act

Congressional Summary:

Opposing press release from Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1):: The reform sentencing laws in this bill may compromise the safety of our communities. Criminals convicted of violent crimes would have the opportunity to achieve 'low risk' status and become eligible for early release. California already has similar laws in place--Propositions 47 and 57--which have hamstrung law enforcement and caused a significant uptick in crime.

Supporting press release from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10):: S. 756 establishes a new system to reduce the risk that [federal prisoners] will commit crimes once they are released. Critically, S. 756 would not only implement these reforms to our prison system, but it also takes a crucial first step toward addressing grave concerns about our sentencing laws, which have for years fed a national crisis of mass incarceration. The bill is a 'first step' that demonstrates that we can work together to make the system fairer in ways that will also reduce crime and victimization.

Legislative outcome: Concurrence Passed Senate, 87-12-1, on Dec. 18, 2018; Concurrence Passed House 358-36-28, Dec. 20, 2018; President Trump signed, Dec. 21, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 18-S756 on Dec 20, 2018

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Page last updated: Oct 22, 2020