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IA House Unanimously Passes Bill Banning the "Gay Panic Defense"

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Republican senators from four states that have seen severe flooding from the Missouri River are backing legislation that would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to change its management of the river to reduce flood risk. 

The proposal would require the Corps to take steps to reduce flood risks along the lower Missouri River by changing the way it manages the dams and by strengthening levees along the river.

The proposal is backed by all the senators from Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. Corps officials say flood protection remains their highest priority.

The Iowa House unanimously approved legislation yesterday to  “send a very loud message”  that you don’t get to murder or assault someone simply because you disagree with their lifestyle. 

 The bill would prevent a defendant from using a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a mitigating factor if charged with murder or any violent crime. 

Keenen Crow is with the  LGBTQ advocacy group One Iowa.  He says the gay panic defense has often been used as a legal strategy.  

“That asks jurors to find the victim’s sexual orientation, their gender identity or gender expression is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction.  That includes and is up to murder”

Lawmakers highlighted the need for the bill by talking about the tragic death of Kedarie Johnson, a gender-fluid Burlington teenager.  He was killed by a man who intended to have sex with Johnson before discovering he had male genitalia.  The man was convicted of first-degree murder.

The bill now moves on to the State Senate. 

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