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Capitol Highlights

February 28, 2014
By Rep. Tedd Gassman - Representing Iowa House District 7 , Estherville News

A number of bills have been passed out of the house this week. One of those bills dealt with human trafficking. There has been an uptick in the number of women, even girls as young as 12, caught in the prostitution trade. Usually a pimp will take the young lady from hotel room to hotel room, from city to city. On Wednesday the house passed a bill dealing with this type of activity. If the woman is younger than age 18 the county attorney can refer her to the DHS who in turn could place the woman in a state agency or even a foster home. Another aspect of the bill would increase the penalty for the pimp from a class D felony to a class C felony. The law would remain as is for those over the age of 18. The pimp would also have to register as a tier one sex offender.

At the beginning of the session I signed onto a bill that was similar to this one with one of my Democrat colleagues. We are taking a step towards making this activity more difficult with greater penalty for those doing the trafficking.

This week the House passed 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. This bill would have ensured he stayed in prison.

Keeping Iowa's children safe from harm is one of my priorities. "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." I voted in the affirmative on this bill and it passed the house 94 to 3 and has been sent to the senate for their consideration.

Thank you to all my constituents in District 7 for allowing me to serve as your representative in Des Moines. The challenges are many but the rewards are great when I can help out in even the smallest of ways. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or concerns about legislation coming forth. Thank you again and have a great week.

 
 

 

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