House passes anti-smash and grab bill & legislation to ban traffic stop quotas

DES MOINES — The Iowa House has voted to join more than a dozen states in establishing felony charges for organized retail theft of at least a thousand dollars in stolen property.

Representative Taylor Collins, a Republican from Mediapolis, cites the case of three people arrested about two years ago after being accused of shoplifting at a Walgreens.  “The police recovered about $50,000 of product in their vehicle. The individuals also had a list of Walgreens stores and addresses in their car, leading the police to later confirm that they were at 18 separate Walgreens locations over the course of two different days,” Collins says, “so this is clearly an issue and I hope this bill addresses it.”

House Republicans have had this bill on their list of 2024 priorities. House Speaker Pat Grassley says it’s needed to deter so-called “smash and grab” episodes being reported in other states.

The House has passed another bill to ban traffic stop quotas. Republican Representative Joshua Meggers is a state trooper from Grundy Center.  “Current law already prohibits quotas on citations issued by law enforcement officers,” Meggers says. “This also would prohibit a quota on the number of traffic stops an officer must make, whether a traffic citation is issued or not.”

During a subcommittee hearing on the bill, a lobbyist for the Iowa Peace Officers Association said the organization favors anti-quota policies because police aren’t interested in stopping motorists just to meet a quota and want to focus on catching people who are actually breaking the law.