Unfortunately, the Iowa Legislature did not keep our constitutional amendment for victims' rights alive past the legislative funnel. Our issue is no longer eligible to be considered this year.
When Marsy’s Law for Iowa launched four years ago, no one in this state was talking about victims’ rights. During that short amount of time, our coalition has met with tens of thousands of Iowans, attended events, held press conferences and penned letters to the editor, grew our coalition of survivors, victim organizations and law enforcement, and most importantly, brought crime victims back into the criminal justice conversation once again.
While the outcome has certainly not been what we had hoped, we are so proud of the work that was done to advance victims’ rights in Iowa.
Time is almost up on passing a crime victims rights amendment this session. The Iowa Legislature has self-imposed deadlines to help winnow their work called funnels. The first funnel week is coming up next week, so in order to keep our issue alive this session, it must be voted out of either the House or Senate Judiciary Committees by Feb. 18.
Here's what you can do to help.
We have been battling for Iowa crime victims for many years. Thanks to you, and our steadfast coalition, we have made tremendous progress over the years. Our time for starting the process to amend our constitution is quickly slipping away. If we do not pass a bill out of a legislative committee by Feb. 18, our issue is dead for the year. Here's how you can help...
While legislators discuss moving forward with a constitutional amendment in Iowa, there have been some special interest groups who have tossed around scary "what ifs" that could happen. The truth though, is that 36 other states across the country have victims' rights amendments and defendants still have due process, victims are not being given party status, it's not costing taxpayers more money. Quite the opposite - it's working. Victims are being heard. They are being protected. And if their rights are violated, they can actually do something about it.
As the 2022 legislative session gets underway at the state capitol, a crime victims' rights amendment is already on the move. This year, the Marsy's Law for Iowa team worked with lawmakers and stakeholders to craft House Study Bill 525 - which would provide rights for crime victims in Iowa's state constitution.