This has been a busy week in the legislature. I am happy to report that the House passed an important bill dealing with Human Trafficking. We passed a bill with an amendment I sponsored that allows victims of human trafficking to clear their criminal record. The bill itself also allows prosecuting attorneys to treat victims of Human Trafficking to be treated as Child In Need of Assistance rather than just criminals. The legislation also increases the penalties for kidnapping a child. The bill is intended to address the Kathlynn Shepard kidnapping and murder from last year.
The House version, House File 2253, would require that anyone that kidnapped someone 15 years or under would be guilty of a class “B” felony. A class “B” felony is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Under the bill, Michael Klunder, the kidnapper of Kathlynn Shepard and her friend Dezi Hughes, would still have been in prison for his previous offenses instead of being released under then current law.
The bill now goes to the Senate. The Senate has also approved a similar version of the bill this week. I am pleased with the progress we are making to deal with the issue of Human Trafficking this session.
Another issue I am pleased to report on deals with a bill I introduced this week on assisting homes, farms and businesses the ability to expand on site propane or LP storage tanks. With the cold winter, we are seeing that the state’s infrastructure is being stretched to meet home heating fuel needs. My hope is that this bill will help consumers deal with high cost of propane. Unfortunately a bill I drafted to provide additional funding for low-income users of propane for home-heating purposes has is not moving towards a vote.
This week I had nice visits from people back home. Maria Brinza and Liva Manukian Maria, New Hampton students and winners of the AASE International Future Leaders Exchange Scholarship through the United States Dept. of State. Maria is from Armenia and Liva is from Mordova. They were joined by Jill Eike, the ASSE International Area Representative. I had a nice visit with David Lohse, who was at the Capitol on behalf of the Charles City Fareway. My wife Ann, joined me at the Capitol on Wednesday and we met with Molly Anderegg from United Way of Central Iowa. As always, it is nice to have visitors.
Also feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at Todd.Prichard@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-3221 at the Capitol. Have a great rest of your week.