The Iowa Senate has given unanimous approval to a crackdown on sexual deviants who prey on children. Last month the House passed a bill that sought changes in the state’s sex abuse registry, better supervision of sex offenders on parole and public notice to schools when a sex offender moves in town. But the Senate has voted to get even tougher — like putting people convicted of a second sex crime in prison for life. Senator Chuck Larson, a Republican from Cedar Rapids, says he’s been seeking some of the changes for six years. “This will have a dramatic affect on public safety in my opinion,” Larson says. The recent kidnapping, rape and murder of a 10-year-old Cedar Rapids girl spurred legislators to take action. A debate on the death penalty for so-called “child killers” was put off because the Democrat leader in the Senate vowed to block it. Larson predicts he and other Republicans will press the issue again next year. The Senate also voted to grant immunity from liability to doctors who perform “chemical castration” of sex offenders. Senator Brad Zahn, a Republican from Urbandale, says while chemical castration is allowed by current law, no doctor will perform it. Chemical castration is allowed for those convicted of sexually abusing children under the age of 12, and Zahn says castration is obviously going to eliminate the problem. During debate on the Senate floor, Zahn said he would prefer to use a “dull knife.” “Wouldn’t bother me. These sexual offenders that do these (things) to our young children, it wouldn’t bother me if they used a dull knife,” Zahn said afterwards. “I’m sorry, that’s just the way I feel.” The bill now goes back to the House for consideration of the Senate changes. House leaders say they’ll consider the matter next week when the House reconvenes. The 100-member House is off this week, waiting for the Senate to make decisions on this bill and other key legislation.
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