State lawmakers face numerous challenges for the session that begins Jan. 8, 2018.
A Democrat and a Republican have teamed up to try to restore voting and firearms rights to Iowa’s felons.
Rep. Greg Heartsill, R-Chariton, and Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, proposed House File 2266, which advanced out of a subcommittee Monday.
“There should be a process, as far as for allowing folks who have served their time — who have paid their restitution and what have you — for non-violent felons to be reintegrated back into society to give them a second chance,” Heartsill said.
Wolfe said the bill is a work in progress, but that it seeks to restore felons’ right to vote after they have completed their sentence, including probation. Currently, they can apply to the governor’s office to have their rights restored, but Wolfe said it’s a cumbersome process and does not always result in a restoration of rights.
For firearms, the bill would allow those convicted of most Class “D” felonies to apply to the Department of Public Safety to have their gun rights restored 10 years after the offense occurred. The applicant could have no pending criminal charges or felony convictions during that time and must be otherwise be legally allowed to carry firearms.
“I really do believe that they’re all rights,” Wolfe said. “And while some are more important than others to certain people — for good reasons— in the end, unless we’re willing to stand up for all of them, then you lose credibility.”
Wolfe and Heartsill said they don’t anticipate the legislation making it all the way to the governor this year, but they said they hope it starts a conversation.
“I do think it’s high time that this is a statewide discussion we should be having,” Wolfe said.
Read or Share this story: http://dmreg.co/2nUtDFB