The Iowa House approved a human trafficking bill Tuesday, agreeing to changes made by the Iowa Senate.
The legislation creates the crime of sexual exploitation of a minor, creates a victims' assistance fund and toughens penalties for sex crimes against children.
Changes added in the Senate and accepted by the House on a unanimous vote raises the statute of limitations to 10 years after the victim turns majority age, or three years after the discovery of the crime by DNA.
“I'm disappointed this focuses mostly on punishment and not helping the victims,” said Rep. Sharon Steckman, D-Mason City, who said she hopes the topic will come back next year so the Legislature can “focus on safe havens” for victims of these crimes.
The House also unanimously approved a $358.2 million transportation appropriation bill for the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Among the specifics of the budget bill are:
House members voted down amendments that would have added more money to county treasurer's offices that handle licenses and a bill that would have included surveys with state road maps so the state could better understand how and why people use them.
“The survey is just a way to gather information,” said state Rep. Daniel Lundby, R-Marion. “It may cost us a little extra now but save us money in the long run.”