Now that funnel week has passed, we are spending a great deal of time this week on the House floor debating. This week has also been busy with visits from various constituents and groups.
House File 2253 – Increased Penalties on Crimes Against Children
Tuesday, we passed out of the chamber House File 2253, which increases penalties for crimes against children. This bill expands the charge of kidnapping. Currently, a person can be convicted of kidnapping in the second degree if they hold the victim for ransom or if they are armed with a dangerous weapon during the kidnapping. The expansion of the definition would include cases where the person kidnapped is 15 or younger.
Another part of this bill deals with sentence terms. Many people in prison do not normally serve their full sentence behind bars because they exhibit good behavior and attend required programs; these things can substantially reduce their sentence. This bill would end the accrual of earned time for certain offenses that are directed at children.
This bill insures that people who seek to harm children will remain in prison for their complete sentence.
House File 2253 has been sent to the Senate for consideration. This bill comes to us following the kidnapping of Kathlynn Shepard and Desi Hughes last summer. All Iowans want to keep our children safe; this bill will go a long way to help prevent a situation like this from happening again. My heart goes out to the Shepard family. Desi Hughes and the Shepard family are in our prayers.
House File 2289 – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
House File 2289 provides regulation for unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) being used by agencies and private citizens. Agencies may not use UAV’s without a warrant, with very few exceptions. UAV’s used by an agency may not record information without a warrant unless there is an emergency and court approval within 48 hours. Agencies must have permission to purchase UAV’s. Individuals may not use UAV’s to harass, stalk, intimidate or terrorize others. This bill passed to the Senate with bipartisan support.
House File 2381 – Firearm Suppressors
Firearm suppressors are currently obtainable with a federal permit; however they are illegal under Iowa’s law. Suppressors do not silence, but they do reduce the noise level to a safer level for the shooter and for those around. The federal government regulates firearm suppressors and includes an extensive, thorough application process and a $200 fee.
I have been contacted by many Iowans who wish to see this issue advance. The bill was passed in the House and was sent to Senate.