Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s introducing legislation to invoke the federal death penalty in cases where a child is sexually assaulted and murdered. He says, “The terrific onslaught of these crimes requires Congress to act promptly to keep our kids safe from child predators. The time has come to crack down on child sex predators, especially repeat offenders. That’s why today I’m introducing the Jetseta Gage Prevention and Deterrence of Crime Act against children.” The bill is named after 10-year-old Jetseta Gage of Cedar Rapids who was raped and killed in March. A convicted sex offender is charged with the crime. But, Grassley, a republican, says Gage’s death — and the failure of the Iowa Legislature to take action on reinstating the death penalty was not the impetus for the bill. Grassley says he began working on the bill in response to killings in Florida. Grassley says the bill will do three things. He says it establishes stiff mandatory minimum sentences, increases the penalties for sexual offenses against children, and reforms the court system to provide a “fair and expeditious appellant review of federal convictions.” Grassley says the maximum federal penalty now faced by sexual predators that kill kids is life in prison. He says he believes stiffer sentences will be more of a deterrent to repeat offenders. Grassley says the death of Gage supported his belief that the federal government had to take action. He says he talked with some of Gage’s relatives after President Bush’s Social Security meeting in Cedar Rapids. He says, “Their plea to me was to do whatever we could to make sure that things like Jetseta’s murder didn’t happen again. And it was a pleading that was very strong you know like, we expect you to do something about this.” Grassley says at that time he knew about the potential legislation, but didn’t have everything wrapped up and didn’t want to tell them he was going to introduce a bill. Grassley says he believes he’ll have U-S Justice Department support on the bill. Iowa’s other Senator was asked about proposals in the state legislature to reinstate capital punishment during his weekly conference call with reporters. Democrat Tom Harkin says he can remember when Iowa did away with the death penalty, nearly forty years ago — and notes that the state continues to have one of the lowest rates of serious crime in the nation. Harkin says the death penalty’s supposed to be a deterrent but clearly isn’t since without it, the crime rate has not gone up. He understands the rise in support for a death penalty following the March slaying of Jetseta gage by a friend of her mother’s at her home in Cedar Rapids. There’s been an “awful, terrible crime committed that revolts us all,” he says, decrying lawmakers who try to play on the emotions of the moment to pass something that “fundamentally alters what kind of society we are.”