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Voter ID & Sex Offender Bills Back For More Debate

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The Iowa Legislature tabled discussion on two contraversial issues last year, but they are back again this year.

  • Voters would be required to show a valid driver's license or state-issued ID in order to vote if the Legislature passes SSB 1012, HSB 23, or SF 85.  Voter rights advocates say minorities and individuals with disabilities are less likely to have drivers licenses and IDs, adding barriers to voting.  Secretary of State Matt Schultz says showing an ID makes sure non-citizens are not voting.  The Democratic-controlled Senate has refused to take up these bills in the past, so don't look for much action this year.

  • A bill being discussed in the Iowa House of Representatives would require nursing homes, residential care facilities, and assisted living programs to check the sex offender registry before admitting a person to their facility, and to notify residents, their families, and local law enforcement when they accept someone who is required to register as a sex offender.  Iowa has more than 5,000 registered sex offenders, and about half of them are lifetime registrants (their names never come off the sex offender registry).  What to do with aging sex offenders is a big issue, and one that Rep. Joel Fry, Rep. Bruce Hunter, and Rep. Mark Lofgren are trying to tackle with HF 53.  Despite dozens of meetings last year, legislators were unable to come to agreement on what to do with these individuals, and how to guarantee the safety of other residents and employees of the facilities.  HF 53 passed out of subcommittee this week, and is set to go before the full House Human Resources Committee in the next week or two.  The bill also creates two work groups - one to study the workforce needs; and another to find a place for sex offenders not accepted in private facilities.

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If you see something that you like in these bills (or something you don't like) - contact your legislators.  If you want to do more, contact the members of the committee.  Click here to use our Grassroots Action Center to email your legislator.