Ad uses Statehouse bills to justify Senator Mathis’ support for police funding

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — Republicans across the country have used law enforcement funding as a campaign issue against Democrats. This political ad from the campaign of State Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Cedar Rapids) argues that the Democrat is “a longtime friend of local law enforcement” thanks to her support for the legislature.

State Senator Mathis is running for Congress against Congresswoman Ashley Hinson in Iowa’s Second District.

Source: Liz Mathis for Congress

According to Federal Election Commission documents, Liz Mathis for Congress is the name of Senator Liz Mathis’ campaign.

Claim #1: “Liz Mathis fully funds law enforcement training and equipment.”

Analysis: To support this, the Mathis campaign pointed us to Home file 861. This is the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Justice, which includes the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Corrections, the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, and the Department of Public Safety, which includes the Patrol of Iowa State, Crime Lab, and Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI). Mathis sat on the appropriations committee, so he would have played a role in the development of this bill. An analysis from the Iowa Legislative Services Agency showed that HF ​​861 included additional personnel for the Iowa Law Enforcement Training Academy, a $2.5 million increase for the Public Safety Equipment Fund.

It was one of six supply bills that the Mathis campaign sent to us that Senator Mathis voted in favor of. We also found three other times that Senator Mathis voted against annual Justice appropriations bills in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The state does not directly fund local law enforcement agencies, such as county sheriff’s offices or police departments. However, Senator Mathis voted to prevent local governments from funding police in Senate File 479. The campaign also cites this bill in this ad as proof that Senator Mathis is against efforts to defund the police.

Conclusion: Appropriation bills are an annual requirement of the legislature, so using them as proof of support for anything is tenuous. By reverse logic, Senator Mathis also voted against some of these appropriations during her time at the Statehouse, but that doesn’t mean she’s against defunding law enforcement. His vote to protect local law enforcement funding adds some weight to his tax support for law enforcement, which is enough to give this claim a ‘B’.

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