A close look at a proposed Iowa constitutional amendment

Marty Ryan is a nearly retired lobbyist after 27 Iowa legislative sessions. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Lawmakers have introduced a glut of proposed amendments to Iowa’s Constitution in the legislature this year. So far, only two have survived. House Joint Resolution 2009 would guarantee the right to bear arms. Both chambers would have to pass identical language during the Eighty-Eighth General Assembly (2019-2020) in order to put that amendment on the November 2020 ballot for Iowans to approve or disapprove.

The other proposal is Senate Joint Resolution 2006, which would change the procedure for who succeeds the governor in case of death, resignation, impeachment, or inability to carry out the duties of governor. It also redefines the procedure for accomplishing that transition.

Reading the legalese of the legislative document will have you bored to death, confused, or excited to solve it like a New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle.

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It is time for an Iowa crime victim rights constitutional amendment

State Representative Marti Anderson is a Democrat serving her third term in the Iowa House. Before that, she was founding director of the Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division for 22 years. -promoted by desmoinesdem

It is time for an Iowa Crime Victim Rights Constitutional Amendment that will give constitutional standing to basic crime victim rights in the Iowa Code. Basic crime victim rights in the justice system include: the right to timely notification on the case and on the status of the offender; the right to be present at criminal proceedings; the right to be heard at sentencing and parole; the right to request restitution for financial loss; and the right to court consideration of their safety in all phases of the case.

Some Iowa victim advocates have worked for a crime victim rights amendment for several decades. I’ve filed an amendment each of my three sessions in the House. There are two major differences this year.

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Marsy's Law would provide better protections for victims

Tiffany Allison is president and founder of the Soaring Hearts Foundation, -promoted by desmoinesdem

Last week was National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, when victims across the country are honored for their forced participation in acts that changed the trajectory of their lives. It was a week to celebrate and support survivors in their journeys to healing and recovery.

I never thought I would have a reason to be a participant in that celebration.

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Why we oppose "Marsy's Law" legislation in Iowa

Beth Barnhill from the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Laurie Schipper from the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence contributed the following commentary. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) and the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) oppose the bill known as “Marsy’s Law,” in its current form. This legislation proposes to amend Iowa’s state constitution to establish specific rights for victims of crime. However, Iowa law already provides statutory victims’ rights protections under Chapter 915.

While we remain unwavering in our support for crime victims, we believe a constitutional amendment is the wrong mechanism for effectively supporting victims. Legislation like Marsy’s Law undermines the systems and services that can better meet the comprehensive needs of victims of crime. What’s more, Marsy’s Law provides no meaningful remedy or adequate funding for services. It provides a false hope to victims, and prioritizes the rights of victims who pursue remedy in a courtroom over the vast majority of victims who choose not to.

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Kim Reynolds quietly signed unconstitutional immigration bill

Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill designed to force Iowa police and sheriffs to assist with federal immigration enforcement.

In so doing, she undermined public safety and constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures–not only for those living in Iowa without legal authorization, but also for immigrants who are lawfully present or even U.S. citizens.

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