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Find out what IowaCASA's been up to at the Legislature

What's happening at the Legislature

We’re into the fourth week of session and the first funnel is right around the corner. This means that any bills that have a chance to make it to the House or Senate for debate need to be passed out of their originating committee by February 18, 2022.

Keep in mind that even if a bill is voted out of subcommittee, it still has a long ways to go before it becomes a law. For a recap of the legislative process and how a bill becomes a law in Iowa, click here.

Here’s a brief summary of some of the bills we’re looking at this year, and where they’re at so far this session:

House File 2042 (HF2024): psychological test disclosures This bill allows a person in control of psychological test materials to disclose the tests as the result of a discovery request or subpoena if the cognitive abilities of the individual tested are the subject of the litigation. In other words, in a hypothetical sexual assault case, the defendant’s legal team could ask for documents of a rape survivor’s psychological tests and then try to use these test to undermine the survivor in court. The coalition opposes this bill, and our legal team spoke during a subcommittee hearing about the traumatizing and harmful impact this legislation could have. The subcommittee members recommended an amendment. IowaCASA is waiting on a copy of the proposed amendment. Meanwhile, another subcommittee for this bill is scheduled for February 2 in the Senate. We will continue to track the progress of this bill.

House Study Bill 527 (HSB527): Sexual exploitation by school employees This bill expands the definition of a “school employee” and a “student” under sexual exploitation offenses to include private and charter schools. It was voted out of subcommittee on January 18. The coalition supports this bill.

Senate File 2071 (SF2071): Sex Education Curriculum This bill makes changes to required health and human growth and development curriculum. It requires K-6 curriculum to include instruction in identifying parts of the body, the importance of empathy, and how to establish and respect physical boundaries. It also requires 7-12 curriculum to include instruction on sexual consent, sexual behavior that is harmful or considered predatory, and sexual assault prevention. It has been assigned to subcommittee as of January 24. The coalition supports this bill.

Senate File 2095 (SF2095): Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations This bill eliminates the statute of limitations in civil actions concerning sex abuse cases against a minor. The coalition generally supports the intent of this bill and spoke during a subcommittee on January 31. Some concerns were brought up during subcommittee about how the bill is written. In its current form, the bill suggests there may have to be a criminal conviction before a survivor could pursue civil compensation. Yet a majority of cases involving sexual violence do not result in a criminal conviction. The bill was voted out of subcommittee and we will continue to work with Senators to recommend improvements to the bill.

For a more comprehensive list of bills that we’re keeping an eye on this legislative session, check out the IowaCASA bill tracker online by clicking here.


Introducing IowaCASA’s newest project, the Safe Youth Collaborative!

In our ongoing efforts to help adults raise children who will be free from sexual violence, we want to introduce you to the Safe Youth Collaborative. The Collaborative is a website for parents, teachers, advocates, childcare providers, and other adults who care about young people to find helpful, practical information and resources about empathy, boundaries, consent, and all kinds of other topics that we know can protect against sexual harm. This is an evolution of our previous project, Parents for Prevention, which some of you may remember. When we started doing this work, we were really focused on parents, but as we’ve talked about this project across the state, we deeply recognize all of the adults that take responsibility for supporting young people, and we wanted a new name and a new focus that was inclusive of all of those amazing grown folks. We partnered with long-time preventionists and friends of the Coalition at Upstream Consulting, and together we think we made something that is both beautiful and useful. There are dedicated sections for all ages from infancy through post-high school, so there is truly information for everyone! Please check it out, let us know what you think by emailing, and share it widely with anyone you can think of that might find it helpful. Together we can end sexual violence!


Celebrate Black History

Celebrate Black History by subscribing to 28 Days of Black History this month, a project published by Anti-Racism Daily. Each email will includes a cultural artifact – book, movie, artwork, song, etc – that represents the impact of Black people and culture in U.S. history; action steps to carry this work into tomorrow – whether it’s donating to an organization, getting involved in your community, or more; and discussion questions to drive conversation and learning with your colleagues, students, friends and family. You can sign up individually, or your entire workplace or school can sign up to learn together with custom features.


It's Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Dating violence is more common than people think, especially among teens and young adults: one in three teens in the US will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with before they become adults, and nearly half (43%) of college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behaviors.

Every February, young people and their loved ones join together across the country for a national effort to raise awareness about the issue of teen dating violence through Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). This annual, month-long push focuses on advocacy and education to stop dating abuse before it starts. The Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month theme for 2022 is "Talk About It."


IowaCASA's Book Corner

For this month’s featured book from IowaCASA’s free community lending library, we chose How to be Less Stupid About Race by Dr. Crystal M. Fleming. Keep reading to check out our Community Engagement Specialist Jocelyn Hernandez’s review and see how you can borrow a set of this or any other book in out library to read and discuss with your book club, your colleagues, your friends, or your family!

I have been reading books about ending racism for a long time, and I still found myself highlighting so much of this book – almost every other sentence in some parts! Much like the title suggests, there is no sugar-coating or handholding in this book. It felt like I was being sat down by someone who loves me very much, who knows I can do better, and who wants to help me get there. The content was challenging, but the tone was really accessible to me, and I really appreciate that. Although she is certainly an expert on racism in America in both her personal life and her academic study, she was also vulnerable enough to talk about the times she wished she would have done something differently herself, and how her own thoughts and reactions have evolved, and continue to evolve. And if you like “10 things you should do next” kind of lists, the one at the end of this book is really helpful! I’m so glad that I read this book, and I’m definitely recommending it to everyone who is interested in unlearning the damaging things most of us have been taught about race and working together to build a better future for all of us.

For more information on how to use our lending library, and to see all of the other amazing titles we’ve got for you, please click here for more information.

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