Parents go to great lengths to protect their children, but unfortunately our children can be vulnerable to tragic crimes. Michael Klunder kidnapped and murdered young Kathlynn Shepard of Dayton on May 20, 2013 after she got off a school bus. Kathlynn's parents urged lawmakers to increase penalties and oversight for sex offenders who attack children. On Tuesday, Michael and Denise Shepard saw their vision become a reality when the Iowa Senate unanimously passed Senate File 2201. I supported this bill as it adds kidnapping a child 16 years old and younger to the definition of second degree kidnapping. This would make the crime a class B felony. The proposed legislation also makes the second count of third degree kidnapping a class B felony.
In 1991 Michael Klunder was sentenced to 41 years in prison on a previous kidnapping charge after he was convicted of three kidnappings in two days. Two of his victims were three-year-old children. Klunder was released in 2011, after serving only 19 years in prison. By making this fix in the Iowa Code and increasing penalties for kidnapping a juvenile, we will keep those likely to re-offend in jail for longer sentences.
Of course, before we leave Des Moines we need to pass a balanced budget. Senate Democrats continue to find new ways to spend your money. New legislation they advanced recently called for new spending of a couple million dollars here and $50 million there. Senate Republicans are standing their ground to rein in out-of-control spending.
Senate appropriation subcommittees are currently holding meetings to discuss the state budget. You have my pledge that I will continue to fight for responsible budget bills, not something that jeopardizes our Iowa families and mortgages our children's future.
Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments. And join us again on Saturday, March 8 at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa for Eggs and Issues.
Sen. Ken Rozenboom(641) 295-6551