By Brian Moore
The Clinton Herald
---- — This week the House passed HF2253 which toughens penalties for those convicted of crimes against children, specifically kidnapping. This bill was generated after a 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 younger 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 our highest 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 help prevent this horrific situation from ever happening again. The bill passed the House 94-3 and was sent to the Senate for their consideration.
Moving heavy duty equipment bill
I chaired the legislation, HF2230, which better defines when vehicle permits are required to drive heavy duty equipment on roads when that equipment is being used primarily for construction of permanent conservation practices on agricultural land.
The bill passed in the House by a vote of 97–0 with three representatives absent. It now goes to the Senate.
Increase tax credits for volunteers
I co-sponsored and was on the subcommittee that moved this bill, HF2076, to the full Ways and Means committee. This legislation was initially written to increase the state tax credit from $50 to $500 a year only for volunteer firefighters and volunteer EMTs.
Our subcommittee has recommended that the state tax credit be lowered to $100 a year but extended to not only volunteer firefighters and volunteer EMTs but also to full time firefighters and EMTs as well as reserve policemen who volunteer their services to their local communities. The bill applies retroactively to Jan. 1, for tax years beginning on or after that date.
Possession of firearm suppressors
On Thursday, the House passed HF2381 by a vote of 82–16 with two absent. This bill authorizes purchase and ownership of devices that silence or muffles the sound of a firearm when being fired.
The suppressor must be registered and possessed in compliance with federal laws and regulations. These devices are currently legal in 39 other states. The legislation now goes to the Senate for their approval.
‘The Way We Live Award’
Organizers of the Iowa State Fair are searching for six farm families to recognize with “The Way We Live” awards. These families must exemplify farm values derived from hard work and a love for the occupation of farming.
Nominated families should show dedication to animal agriculture in their daily lives and in the lives of their family members. Winners will receive a prize package including $250, fair admission tickets, free parking, fair food coupons, and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the fair. The entry deadline is May 1 For a brochure and entry form, go to www.iowastatefair.org/competition/the-way-we-live-award.
Grassley internships available
College-age Iowans are needed throughout the year. Spring and fall semester internships last approximately four months. Two summer sessions of six weeks each also are available.
In addition, many schools offer course credit for internships. Early application is encouraged, and the selection process is competitive. Intern applications are available via Senator Grassley’s website or by visiting one of his offices in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City or Waterloo.
You are encouraged to apply. For the two six week sessions, May 27 to July 3 and July 7 to Aug 15, applications are due by March 15. To receive an application by mail, or for additional information, send a message to Jennifer Heins at email@example.com or call (202) 224-3744.
Brian Moore, a Republican from Zwingle, represents Iowa House District 58 in the Iowa Legislature, which covers Jackson County.