This week in the House spent our time debating bills that had previously survived the legislative funnel. Most of the bills we considered passed the House in a bipartisan manner and were sent over to the Senate for their consideration.
One significant bill passed this week was House File 2253 which toughens penalties for those convicted of crimes against children, specifically kidnapping. This bill was generated after last summer’s kidnapping of Kathlynn Shepard and Desi Hughes which resulted in the murder of Shepard, who was 15.
The bill makes the crime of kidnapping a child 15 or under a class B felony and lengthens prison time for those who are convicted of this crime. In the Shepard case, the murderer was a convicted child kidnapper who was freed due to good behavior. Had this bill been in effect at the time of this incident, the kidnapper would have remained in prison and not been free to commit these heinous crimes.
I believe keeping Iowa’s children safe from harm is one of the most fundamental things we do at the capitol. While I am deeply saddened by the loss of Kathlynn Shepard and the trauma suffered by Desi Hughes, I am hopeful this measure will prevent this horrific situation from ever happening again.
The bill passed the House 94 votes to 3 votes.
Another bill we took up was House File 2275 which will prevent fraud, misrepresentation and inadequate documentation in the Medicaid process. This bill sets the stage to save Iowa taxpayers upwards of $16 million by preventing this fraud. It will also increase efficiency by reducing approval time from weeks to 48 hours or less.
This bill passed the House 86 votes to 12 votes.
Both of these bills now head to the Senate where I hope they will get a fair hearing.
As we continue to move through the session, we will continue to work on bills that are a priority for Iowans and will move the state forward. If you wish to tune in to our debate, you can watch online at this link.
You can watch an update I deliver to the press this week by clicking here.
As always, feel free to contact me on these bills or any others at my office at (515) 281-3521 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.