Iowa Senate OKs Bill Limiting Law Enforcement Cash Seizures

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would add restrictions to how authorities can seize money and other items from people suspected of illegal activity.

The chamber voted 49-0 Tuesday for the bill, which now heads to the House. It must clear procedural votes this week to survive a looming legislative deadline.

Civil asset forfeiture is a legal process that allows law enforcement to take money or property from a person suspected of illegal activity. In Iowa, authorities can keep the items regardless of a conviction. The bill would require seized cash or property to be returned if it’s valued at less than $5,000 and there’s no conviction.

The bill comes amid efforts around the country to reform a system critics say can undermine a citizen’s judicial rights.

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