HIV sentencing reform bill passes Iowa House - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

HIV sentencing reform bill passes Iowa House

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DES MOINES (KWWL) - A bill meant to reform Iowa's HIV criminalization law unanimously passed the Iowa House early Thursday morning.

Senate File 2297 will change Iowa's current law, 709c, so that it is no longer HIV specific, and converts sentencing to a tiered system instead of a "one size fits all" approach. The bill unanimously passed the Iowa Senate in February, and now moves to Governor Terry Branstad's desk for his signature.

Iowa's current 709c law states a person has committed criminal transmission of HIV if that person knowingly engages in intimate contact without disclosing his or her positive status, whether infection occurs or not.

Tami Haught, Community Organizer with Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network (CHAIN) explained the tiered system of sentencing when the bill was first introduced in February, "If someone intends to transmit and transmission takes place it is still a class B felony, if there is intent but no transmission it is a [class] D felony and if there is no intent but transmission takes place it is a class D felony."

Additionally, under the new bill, Iowans would who are sentenced under the new law would no longer be required to register as a sex offender. A retroactive clause in the bill would remove anyone sentenced under 709c from the sex offender registry.

"After 5 long years of fighting to change Iowa's law, those of us living in Iowa with HIV and AIDS can finally breathe a sigh of relief," said Haught. "We commend the leadership in the Senate and the House for understanding the importance of this bill and the need to modernize Iowa's draconian 709c law."

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