Iowa Legislative Final Push and Other News
Iowa NAHT Legislative Update and Final Push
There were 18 human trafficking related bills at the start of 2019 and we are now down to one bill that has passed and 3 that still have a slim chance to make it to the Governor’s desk.
First the good news!
The Iowa NAHT Legislative Committee and co-Chairs are excited to announce that on April 17th, the Mandatory Reporter Training and Certification bill passed unanimously out of the Senate! To be clear, there were two versions of the bill: HF 731, which followed the recommendations of the work group, but allowed for a one hour “refresher” training for each module every three years after the initial full two hour certification training. This was a compromise the NAHT agreed to early on in the process with the medical community. SF 544 did not contain this agreed-upon language. As the Legislative Committee co-chairs worked with legislators through the process on the Senate side, they continued to stand by the agreement with the medical community regarding the refresher training compromise, and the bill was brought for Senate floor debate on April 17th. It passed with unanimous bipartisan support, with the consistent help of Senator Miller-Meeks, Senator Cournoyer, Senator Segebart, Senator Quirmbach, and the floor manager of the bill, Senator Carlin.
Senator Carlin’s comments about the bill, and the need for it’s enactment were very thoughtfully stated with special recognition of the Network’s efforts. To listen to the floor speech, click here.
We encourage Network allies to send a quick thank you email to your local legislator and to any/all of the senators named above. It is important that legislators know how much the Network appreciates their vote and their support for improved training for identifying the signs of child and youth sex trafficking. Many thanks to all who took the time to visit the Capitol, speak with your legislator, or send an email. Your engagement and support made this victory possible. We would also like to say a special thank you to Maggie Tinsman, Angela Davis, and Liz Cox who have led this legislative effort.
The NAHT is currently in communication with the Governor’s office to see if a public bill signing is possible.
As you know, the Mandatory Reporter and Training bill was the NAHT’s top 2019 legislative priority. The following are three human trafficking bills that are still alive and that the Network supports.
- SF267 (SSB 1037) and HF 479 – An act relating to the practice of massage therapy and providing criminal penalties for those who practice without a license. An amendment was offered to exclude sex trafficked victims from prosecution.
- HSB 26, SF 487 (SF 92, SSB 1054) – An act expanding the period of time to bring criminal actions for sexual offences against a minor.
- HF 642 (HF435) An act relating to the release of certain confidential human trafficking client related information by the department of human services to multidisciplinary teams within other state agencies.
There is still hope that these three bills will pass, however, we’re nearing the home stretch of the 2019 Iowa legislative session. Lawmakers are scheduled to wrap up in only two weeks! That means right now they are working to narrow down the field of existing bills and set the state’s yearly budget through the appropriations process. All appropriations bills have been introduced at this point.
Update from the Iowa Collaborative Human Trafficking Service Network
After meeting quarterly for the last two years, Iowa Collaborative chairperson, and NAHT board member, Joy Fopma, has decided to terminate operation and transition to a new provider network. If you are a provider of human trafficking services, and have questions or concerns, please contact Joy Fopma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gridshock Documentary Tour adds 2 more dates
After four very successful showings showings, Gridshock will be shown in six more Iowa cities on the following dates:
Garden Gate Ranch Announces Purchase of Rescue Home
Garden Gate Ranch is a faith-based central Iowa non-profit program serving sexually exploited and sex trafficked women. They recently held their second annual fundraising Spring Gala with a fundraising goal of $500,000. Eight hundred (800) guests attended the gala dinner held at the Holiday Inn across from the Des Moines airport.
Brenda Long, founder of Garden Gate Branch, announced the purchase of a 15 acre property with a large modern home. This will serve as a human trafficking shelter for adult women with or without children. The home is located in the greater Des Moines area. Known as the Pathway House this 7,000 square foot facility will meet immediate needs of survivors for up to 60 days. A second long term restoration home is in the planning stages and will be called the Ranch House.
The program keynote included speakers Ruth Buckels, YSS Teens Against Trafficking and AMP director, and a survivor who shared her story which included mention of having been trafficked out of the very same hotel in which the Gala took place. After the event was concluded they had raised over $420,000 in funds to support their project.