Bill Targeting Violent Offenders Passes House

DES MOINES, Iowa -- “We’re not talking about a couple of non-violent drug offenders who we have identified for smart sentencing and early parole. We’re identifying habitually violent offenders who are convicted not once, not twice, but three times, by three separate judges for very violent effects. Asking them to serve one fifth of a fifteen year term is something that’s very important," said Representative Zach Nunn.

Nunn's third strike bill for domestic violence, harassment, and stalking accomplishes a lot, according to victim rights advocate and domestic violence survivor Tiffany Allison of the Soaring Hearts Foundation. "What it does for the offender is that it would lessen the good time that they receive until they`ve completed their treatment. It would also bring about truth in sentencing. It makes them serve more of their sentence then they do right now with the good time legislation, and then effectively they can be placed on GPS monitoring if they`re deemed a high risk when they`re being released from jail or prison," said Allison.

But Representative Mary Wolfe, who voted against the bill, doesn't think it does much of anything. "Personally, I don`t see anything in this bill that will actually make people safer," said Wolfe. Wolfe says she understands the intent behind the bill, but is concerned that it was drafted too broadly and that it criminalizes behavior that she doesn't think is deserving of prison time. "Is that intimidating if somebody takes a position that I really want to go out with you, I think it`d be great, I`m just gonna keep kind of asking you every time I see you until you say yes, well, you know most people it be like 'you`re a pain go away,'" said Wolfe.

Annoying yes, but not worthy of being considered an aggravated misdemeanor, says Wolfe. But Nunn takes issue with Wolfe's characterization of what constitutes harassment. "This is not a case of asking somebody to the prom and being rejected three times. This is the case of individuals who have a long term relationship, one of them being severely, harassed, stalked, and worse case situation beaten," said Nunn.

Now that the bill has passed the House, it will head over to the Senate. Allison says she's hopeful it will pass there and then head to the Governor to be signed into law.