The Iowa Senate is deadlocked over the death penalty. Some Republicans want to force a vote to see which Democrats vote against capital punishment, in hopes of defeating those Democrats in 2006. Senator Larry McKibben, a Republican from Marshalltown, says Democrats will lose their power in the state Senate over the issue. “I guarantee you the political pressures will build on a lot of different fronts over the summer and into next January as we approach November of 2006,” McKibben says. Once the Democrat Leader in the Senate uses his authority to block a vote on the death penalty, McKibben and other Republicans may move to block debate of changes in the state’s sex offender laws. But Senator Chuck Larson, a fellow Republican from Cedar Rapids, says that’s the wrong move. “I disagree with that categorically,” Larson says. “I believe this is an issue of public safety. Tragically, we’ve lost the life of one person and Iowa’s sex offender system is broken.” The changes Larson seeks, which McKibben and some other Republicans may be willing to abandon, would double the penalty for committing lascivious acts against a child and put someone in jail for life after a second sex crime conviction. Senator Mike Connolly, a Democrat from Dubuque, warns there may be a backlash if Republicans keep pressing the death penalty issue in connection with the death of a 10-year-old Cedar Rapids girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered. “Everyone is horrified by this situation…and now I think Iowans see this being played for political advantage,” Connolly says. “I dare say if they see that, I don’t think they’re going to like it.”