It’s hard to believe we have completed the seventh week of the legislative session. We saw a great deal of floor action this week, including passing legislation that better protects Iowans and makes our state an even safer place to raise a family.
The tragedy that occurred last summer in Fort Dodge involving Kathlynn Shepard and Desi Hughes highlighted areas where we could strengthen Iowa’s laws in regards to kidnapping. This tragedy resulted in the murder of Kathlynn, who was 15 years old.
This week we passed legislation which toughens penalties for individuals convicted of crimes against children, specifically kidnapping. HF 2253 gives our county attorneys the tools they need to appropriately prosecute these cases. 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. This bill would have ensured he stayed in prison. The bill passed the House 94-3.
Over the past several months, concerns regarding human trafficking have greatly increased in our state. This week legislation was passed to protect underage Iowans who have been forced into prostitution. HF 2254 would ensure minors involved in human trafficking are provided the necessary protection and services needed for recovery. The bill also makes trafficking a person under the age of 18 a class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and makes the solicitation of a prostitute under the age of 16 a felony.
We are serious about ending human trafficking in our state. Iowans will not tolerate the sexual exploitation of minors, and this bill directly addresses the issue. HF 2254 passed the House with a unanimous vote of 98-0.
Protecting Iowa’s children is one of my top priorities as your State Representative. One of the greatest things about Iowa is our safe and friendly communities. We can never take that for granted and must always fight to preserve this tremendous quality of our state.
HF 2253 and HF 2254, both having received overwhelming bipartisan support, have been sent to the Senate for their consideration.
Next week promises to be another busy week in the Legislature. Our committees will be reviewing and discussing legislation passed to us by the Senate and we will continue our debate on the floor. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or 515-281-4618 with any questions, concerns, or feedback regarding proposed legislation. I look forward to hearing from you!