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Resolution adds victims' rights to state Constitution

A resolution to add victims’ rights — many of them already in Iowa law — to the state Constitution was approved by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. The Senate likely will follow suit later this week.

House Joint Resolution 2003 would allow crime victims to choose to be notified about proceedings in the case, the right to be present, heard and respected throughout the process and to have the right to restitution, floor manager Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, told the committee.

...At a subcommittee hearing earlier in the day, lawmakers heard criticism from groups providing victim services. The amendment is vague, “very fluffy language without anything specific to survivors,” said Kerri True-Funk of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The resolution doesn’t address the costs associated with victims’ rights. Funding for those services was cut by the Legislature last year.

“We’re hopeful that you all will take a moment to step back from some feel-good legislation,” she said, and instead look at Chapter 915 of the Iowa code that addresses victim rights.

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