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Will "victims' rights" bill actually help victims?

Proposal is moving through the Iowa Legislature.

Posted: Feb 18, 2018 9:49 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A push to add language to the Iowa Constitution ensuring the rights of crime victims is moving through the Legislature despite opposition from a crime victims group and prosecutors.

The law has bipartisan support and the backing of Gov. Kim Reynolds, but others argue the legislation could ultimately hurt victims by siphoning money away from other programs that now help them.

Critics point to other states with similar legislation, like South Dakota, where lawmakers are currently trying to alter language added to the state constitution in 2016 to reduce the unintentional burden on county attorneys' offices.

But supporters of Iowa's proposal say lawmakers learned from other states and designed the amendment to avoid added burden to a court system facing budget cuts and reduced courthouse staffing.

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