Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Senate File 93 was the domestic strangulation bill,The bill had passed the Senate, 50-0 in 2010 and the full House Judiciary Committee before dying by funnel. The bill passed the Senate again 48-0 in 2011 but was not taken up in the House despite widespread support from the State Bar Association, Attorney General’s Office, County Attorneys’ and Sheriffs’ Associations, and domestic abuse advocacy groups.

At issue is enhancing the penalty of strangulation in the domestic abuse statute (708.2A) to an aggravated misdemeanor (up to 2 years and a $1875 fine) or a Class D felony (up to 5 years and a $7500 fine) if bodily injury is present. The reason that the legislation is important goes to the preventative nature of the law, past strangulation being the single greatest predictor of lethality in the arena of domestic abuse. Of 135 women murdered in Iowa in the last decade, 20 were killed by strangulation and studies show that 56% of women lethally strangled had previously been strangled before. Such tough on crime legislation sends a message, puts in enhanced penalties for subsequent abuse, and truly protects victims.

For a few on the political Left, giving greater penalties and proving this particular crime prove worrisome. However, the burden of proof always rests with the prosecution and law enforcement education in the 26 other states where felony strangulation has become law has given heightened awareness to this particular crime. For a few on the Right, creating a specific crime within the domestic abuse statute is problematic because “everyone should be treated equally,” e.g. if a husband strangles his wife versus another man in a bar fight, why should they be treated differently?

The reason for differentiating is that I know of no case where two men fighting at a bar has subsequently resulted six weeks later in one them “finishing the job.” Because of the cyclical nature of abuse, the domestic abuse statute carries greater penalties for subsequent acts and includes a mandatory arrest (allowing a 24-hour cooling off period) and a batterer’s education course.

After a lengthy caucus discussion by both sides, the bill passed on January 26, 16-2 out of the House Judiciary and faces one final floor vote before heading to the Governor’s desk. One hurdle remained: avoiding an amendment which would either weaken the penalty or place it outside of the domestic abuse statute. Such an amendment would result in the bill bouncing back to the Senate and jeopardize nearly five years of work on a bill that recognizes Iowa’s domestic abuse statute is weak in this area.

The end? Without amendment, as is, Governor Branstad signed the bill that passed 95-1. He turned to give me the pen for having floor-managed the bill. I gave it to Vicki Lensing (D-Iowa City) and said, “You worked a lot harder on it than I did.” And that was true. I only had a year and a half trying to get it through–she’d been working on it for five years.

Today, Vicki Lensing and I were two of four Iowa lawmakers honored by the Iowa Council Against Domestic Violence–it’s nice that some things do get done and on a bipartisan basis.


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A fellow representative sent me this today. Wow, talk about your presuppositions! Friedman skewers Phil Donahue on his assumptions and does it with a smile.


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So my good friend Michelle picked up a line I told her the other day over a caramel cappuccino in New York. Actually, she found it at Iowa Politics, but she is right that stimulus money borrowed from our children to result in temporary teaching jobs is not good for our fiscal state and the subsequent debt we’ll owe. You can find her article in which she quotes me as the “responsible teacher” here.

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The trick in this business is not to be right too early. A week ago I released my new book — the usual doom’n’gloom stuff — and, just as the sensible prudent moderate chaps were about to dismiss it as hysterical and alarmist, Standard & Poor’s went and downgraded the United States from its AAA rating for the first time in history. Obligingly enough they downgraded it to AA+, which happens to be the initials of my book: After America. Okay, there’s not a lot of “+” in that, but you can’t have everything. Read on…

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A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”

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A distorted definition of equality, De Tocqueville argued, would one day lead to despotism. Liberties would not be lost overnight but would fade away incrementally summarizes James Delingpole:

The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

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