Iowa Public Television

 

Senators Jeff Lamberti & Keith Kreiman

posted on February 7, 2006

Yepsen: DEALING WITH CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS REMAINS A FRONT-BURNER ISSUE AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE. WE'LL GET A STATUS REPORT WITH SENATORS JEFF LAMBERTI, COPRESIDENT OF THE IOWA SENATE, AND WITH KEITH KREIMAN, COCHAIRMAN OF ITS JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, ON THIS EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.'

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DAVID YEPSEN.

Yepsen: HIGH ON THE LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR LAST SPRING'S LEGISLATIVE SESSION WERE NEW LAWS DEALING WITH IOWA'S CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS. IN THE LEGISLATIVE AFTERMATH, THOUGH, SOME OF THE HIGHER PROFILE ISSUES REMAINED, AND THAT FACT SET THE TABLE FOR THE SESSION OF 2006. TODAY THE ISSUES REMAIN AT THE TOP OF THE AGENDA: LONGER PRISON TERMS, MANDATED TREATMENT, DNA TESTING, THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY, AND THE MUCH PUBLICIZED 2,000-FOOT RESIDENTIAL RULE. BOTH THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC CAUCUSES HAVE WORKED ON SOLUTIONS, AND HERE TO HELP US SORT THROUGH THE STATUS OF THE DELIBERATIONS ARE SENATOR JEFF LAMBERTI, A REPUBLICAN FROM ANKENY WHO IS COPRESIDENT OF THE IOWA SENATE, AND SENATOR KEITH KREIMAN, A DEMOCRAT FROM BLOOMFIELD WHO IS THE COCHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE'S JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. GENTLEMEN, WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION AND TO 'IOWA PRESS.'

Kreiman: GOOD MORNING, DAVID.

Lamberti: GOOD TO BE BACK.

Yepsen: GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH US. ALSO WITH US AT THE 'IOWA PRESS' TABLE ARE KAY HENDERSON, NEWS DIRECTOR WITH 'RADIO IOWA,' AND MIKE GLOVER, SENIOR LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL REPORTER WITH THE 'ASSOCIATED PRESS.'

Glover: SENATOR KREIMAN, LET'S START WITH YOU. JUST THIS PAST WEEK YOU ANNOUNCED A COMPROMISE THAT WOULD CALL FOR LENGTHY PRISON TERMS FOR THE MOST SERIOUS SEX OFFENDERS, 25 YEARS UP TO THE POTENTIAL OF LIFE IN PRISON. IS THAT THE COMPROMISE FOR THIS YEAR?

Kreiman: IT COULD BE THE COMPROMISE FOR THIS YEAR, BUT I THINK THAT IT WILL INCLUDE OTHER FACTORS. IT WILL INCLUDE, I HOPE, THE ADDITION OF SAFETY ZONES, THE INCREASED SHARING OF INFORMATION BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND LOCAL SHERIFFS' OFFICES. AND WHAT I ALSO HOPE IS THAT IT INCLUDES SOME PREVENTION EFFORTS. AND THERE IS A BILL WHICH WILL BE FILED NEXT WEEK, HOPEFULLY ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS, THAT WILL PROVIDE $1.2 MILLION FOR CHILD SEX ABUSE PREVENTION AND CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION. I HOPE ALL OF THOSE THINGS BECOME A PART OF THIS PACKAGE.

Glover: $1.2 MILLION FOR WHAT?

Kreiman: FOR -- MOST OF IT WILL GO TO PREVENT CHILD ABUSE IOWA --

Glover: FOR WHAT SORTS OF PROGRAMS? I MEAN HOW DO YOU PREVENT CHILD ABUSE? WHAT KINDS OF METHODS DO YOU USE? HOW DOES IT WORK?

Kreiman: WELL, HOW IT WORKS IS EDUCATING PARENTS, EDUCATING COMMUNITIES, PROVIDING TREATMENT OPPORTUNITIES SO THAT, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A SITUATION WHERE 80 PERCENT OF THE CHILD'S SEXUAL ABUSE OCCURS AT HOME. NINETY PERCENT OF IT OCCURS WHERE THE VICTIM KNOWS THE PERPETRATOR. SO REALLY THE BEST AND THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST THESE SEXUAL PREDATORS IS AT THE HOME.

Glover: SENATOR LAMBERTI, LET'S GO TO YOU. YOU ANNOUNCED EARLIER THAT YOU WOULD PROPOSE A BILL THAT CALLS FOR SENTENCES OF 25 YEARS OR MORE FOR ADULTS WHO ABUSE CHILDREN UNDER TWELVE. IS THAT THE COMPROMISE FOR THIS YEAR?

Lamberti: I DON'T THINK IT'S THE COMPROMISE. I THINK IT'S PART OF WHAT WE'RE CONTINUING TO DO TO ADDRESS SEXUAL PREDATORS IN OUR STATE. THE BILL I INTRODUCED -- AND I'M PLEASED WE HAD 45 OUT OF THE 50 SENATORS SIGN ON AS COSPONSORS, SO IT'S GOT BROAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT -- IS MODELED AFTER FLORIDA'S JESSICA'S LAW. AND WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO WITH THAT LAW IS GET AT THE MOST SERIOUS FIRST-TIME OFFENDERS. WE'RE NOT GOING TO GIVE THEM A SECOND OPPORTUNITY TO DESTROY A CHILD'S LIFE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A ZERO-TOLERANCE POLICY FOR THE MOST SERIOUS OFFENDERS, AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ADULT OFFENDERS IN CHILDREN 12 OR YOUNGER. SO THERE'S NO MISTAKE ABOUT AGE. THERE'S NONE OF THAT INVOLVED. IT'S SIMPLY ADULT OFFENDERS PREYING ON YOUNG CHILDREN. WE ARE GOING TO SAY THIS STATE WILL HAVE A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY, 25 YEARS MANDATORY MINIMUM, ALL THE WAY UP TO LIFE IN PRISON. AND IT TIES INTO THE 2,000-FOOT RULE. AND PERSONALLY I THINK WE SPEND FAR TOO MUCH TIME TALKING ABOUT THAT AND NOT ENOUGH TIME TALKING ABOUT HOW WE'RE REALLY GOING TO PROTECT OUR KIDS. THIS BILL WILL PROTECT OUR KIDS. I KNOW WHERE THEY'RE GOING TO BE RESIDING IF I PUT THEM AWAY FOR 25 YEARS TO LIFE.

Glover: WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER ITEMS THAT SENATOR KREIMAN MENTIONED, PARTICULARLY THE CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION? ARE YOU WILLING TO SPEND THE 1.2 MILLION?

Lamberti: WELL, WE'LL TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT PROGRAM, WHERE THEY WANT TO PUT IT, BUT I'M NOT GOING TO RULE THAT OUT. NO, I THINK THAT'S PART OF A CONTINUUM THAT WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO WORK ON. WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE MONITORING AND TRACKING WHEN PEOPLE GET OUT OF PRISON. WE NEED TO HAVE BETTER TOOLS TO DETERMINE WHO IS A RISK TO REOFFEND: WHO DO WE WANT TO MONITOR; WHO DO WE WANT TO PUT ON THE REGISTRY? I THINK WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO LOOK AT ALL OF OUR LAWS AND IMPROVE THEM. BUT I DID SEE A GLARING WEAKNESS WITH FIRST-TIME OFFENDERS. WHY DO WE GIVE THEM A SECOND CHANCE? QUITE FRANKLY, IF THIS LAW -- JESSICA'S LAW HAD BEEN IN EFFECT IN IOWA, JETSETA GAGE WOULD BE ALIVE TODAY BECAUSE HE -- THE MURDERER WOULD HAVE STILL BEEN IN PRISON.

Henderson: JETSETA GAGE IS THE TEN-YEAR-OLD CEDAR RAPIDS GIRL WHO WAS KILLED LAST SPRING. THE MAN ACCUSED OF THAT KILLING, ROGER BENTLEY, WAS SENTENCED -- WAS CONVICTED, RATHER, BY A JURY THIS PAST WEEK. SENATOR KREIMAN, THE DAY AFTER THAT ANOTHER SENATOR, LARRY MCKIBBEN, CALLED A COMMITTEE MEETING IN THE IOWA SENATE ON A BILL THAT WOULD ESTABLISH THE DEATH PENALTY FOR THOSE WHO KIDNAP, MOLEST, AND KILL CHILDREN. IS THAT BILL GOING TO GO ANYWHERE?

Kreiman: NO, THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE A SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE ISSUE.

Henderson: WHY NOT?

Kreiman: IT'S NOT GOING TO OCCUR BECAUSE THE LEGISLATURE DOES ITS BEST WORK WHEN IT WORKS ON THINGS WHICH IOWANS -- THINGS THAT IOWANS IN UNIFORM WANT DONE. WE DID LAST YEAR THE METHAMPHETAMINE BILL. IN THE PAST WE WORKED ON REVISING THE WELFARE REFORM. WE'VE DONE A LOT OF THINGS WHERE WHEN ISSUES ARE POPULAR IN IOWA -- I MEAN JUST ACROSS THE BOARD -- WE DO GOOD LEGISLATION. THE DEATH PENALTY, THERE'S MANY IOWANS LIKE MYSELF WHO HAVE A MORAL PROBLEM WITH REINSTITUTING THE DEATH PENALTY. WE ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS IF WE MAKE A MISTAKE, AND SOMETIMES MISTAKES ARE MADE. SO SINCE THAT IS SUCH A CONTENTIOUS ISSUE IN THE STATE AND WOULD TAKE SO MUCH TIME TO DEBATE THIS SESSION, TO ME IT MAKES A LOT MORE SENSE TO PUT OUR EFFORTS TOWARDS WORKING ON THE SEX ABUSE ISSUE, ON THE ITEMS THAT WE CAN AGREE ON, AND CONTINUE WORK ON METHAMPHETAMINE AND OTHER PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUES.

Henderson: SENATOR LAMBERTI, AREN'T REPUBLICANS JUST PRESSING THIS ISSUE BECAUSE IT PRESSES VOTERS' BUTTONS?

Lamberti: NO, IN FACT, WE'VE BEEN ACCUSED THAT IT'S ALL ABOUT POLITICS. IF YOU REMEMBER, WE TRIED TO DEBATE THIS ISSUE LAST YEAR IN A NONELECTION YEAR. IT IS ABOUT MORE THAN POLITICS.

Henderson: BUT YOU HAVE A GOVERNOR WHO WON'T SIGN IT. WHY GO THROUGH THE WHOLE RIGAMAROLE OF PASSING A BILL OR AT LEAST TRYING WHEN YOU KNOW THE GOVERNOR WON'T SIGN IT?

Lamberti: BECAUSE I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FOR IOWANS TO UNDERSTAND WHERE THEY'RE ELECTED OFFICIALS STAND ON THIS ISSUE. YOU KNOW, WE TALK ABOUT AREAS WHERE THERE'S BROAD SUPPORT. SEVENTY PERCENT OR MORE OF IOWANS WANT THE DEATH PENALTY REINSTATED FOR CHILD KILLERS. AND LET'S REMEMBER, WE'RE ONLY TALKING ABOUT THAT NARROW AREA. WE'VE GOT ALL THE DNA SAFEGUARDS IN THIS BILL. IT WOULD BE PROBABLY THE MOST LIMITED DEATH PENALTY OF ANY STATE THAT HAS A DEATH PENALTY. BUT OVERWHELMINGLY, THE PEOPLE OF IOWA WANT US TO REINSTATE IT. AND THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, I RESPECT KEITH'S OPINION. HE HAS THE ABILITY TO VOTE NO. ANY OTHER SENATOR CAN VOTE NO. I DON'T BELIEVE THEY SHOULD BLOCK DEBATE. THE BEST WAY TO FIND OUT IF THERE'S SUFFICIENT VOTES, WHICH I BELIEVE THERE ARE, IS TO BRING IT UP FOR A VOTE AND LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

Yepsen: SENATOR KREIMAN, YOU SHAKE YOUR HEAD.

Kreiman: FROM EVERY COUNT I'VE EVER HEARD, THERE'S NOT ENOUGH VOTES IN EITHER THE SENATE NOR THE HOUSE TO PASS THE DEATH PENALTY.

Yepsen: WHAT'S WRONG WITH PUTTING THE REDS AND GREENS UP AND SEEING WHERE THE VOTES REALLY ARE?

Kreiman: I DON'T THINK THERE'S A LOT WRONG WITH DOING THAT EXCEPT FOR IF YOU WOULD RECALL IN 1995 WHEN WE HAD OUR LAST DEATH PENALTY DEBATE, IT TOOK LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF COMMITTEE TIME, OF LEGISLATIVE TIME IN ORDER TO GET THAT BILL EVEN TO THE FLOOR. NOW, IF WE DID THAT THIS YEAR, IS THERE TIME TO DO THE SEX ABUSE, IS THERE TIME TO DO OTHER THINGS THAT WE, THE LEGISLATURE, NEED TO GET DONE?

Yepsen: SENATOR, IT IS TRUE THAT POLLS DO SHOW MOST IOWANS FAVOR REINSTATING THE DEATH PENALTY. ARE DEMOCRATS AFRAID OF TAKING A VOTE ON THIS, PARTICULARLY EASTERN IOWA DEMOCRATIC SENATORS WHERE JETSETA GAGE COMES FROM?

Kreiman: WELL, I GUESS I CAN'T SPEAK FOR OTHER DEMOCRATS. BECAUSE OF MY MORAL POSITION ON THE ISSUE, I VOTED NO ON THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE PAST. AND I THINK MOST DEMOCRATIC SENATORS, MOST REPUBLICAN SENATORS, ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, ARE ALREADY ON RECORD AS EITHER BEING FOR IT OR AGAINST IT.

Yepsen: WHAT'S THE POLITICS OF THIS, THEN, TO BOTH OF YOU? IF A VOTER FAVORS THE DEATH PENALTY, THEY'RE TO VOTE REPUBLICAN. IF THEY OPPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY, THEY'RE TO VOTE DEMOCRATIC WHEN IT COMES TO ELECTING STATE SENATORS. IS THAT THE BOTTOM LINE, SENATOR KREIMAN?

Kreiman: WELL, I THINK THAT THAT'S WHAT SOME POLITICIANS WOULD WANT PEOPLE TO DO, BUT I THINK THAT WHAT PEOPLE IN IOWA ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IS NOT JUST THE DEATH PENALTY, THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY. THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT OTHER ISSUES.

Yepsen: SENATOR LAMBERTI?

Lamberti: WELL, I THINK THE MESSAGE THAT'S BEING SENT HERE -- AND I DON'T KNOW WHERE EVERY INDIVIDUAL MEMBER IS ON THIS ISSUE, BUT THE MESSAGE CLEARLY IS DEMOCRATS IN THE IOWA SENATE WILL NOT ALLOW THIS ISSUE TO BE DEBATED. SO CLEARLY, IF YOU WANT THE DEATH PENALTY DEBATED, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PUT REPUBLICANS BACK IN CHARGE OF THE IOWA SENATE.

Glover: SENATOR LAMBERTI, IN THIS WHOLE SEX ABUSE DEBATE, THE STATE TO THIS POINT HAS TREATED EVERY SEX OFFENDER THE SAME. IS IT NECESSARY FOR THE LEGISLATURE TO GO IN AND COME UP WITH SOME KIND OF A SYSTEM TO CATEGORIZE, TO CLASSIFY SEX OFFENDERS IN THEIR ABILITY TO REOFFEND?

Lamberti: ABSOLUTELY.

Glover: HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

Lamberti: RISK ASSESSMENT TOOLS. YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE GOOD. YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE GETTING INFORMATION THAT CLASSIFIES PEOPLE BY LIKELIHOOD TO REOFFEND. AND THEN YOU CAN ADJUST HOW MUCH SUPERVISION YOU PROVIDE. OBVIOUSLY MORE SUPERVISION FOR THOSE THAT ARE THE GREATER THREAT. LESS SUPERVISION FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT. THE CONTINGENT I WOULD MAKE ON THAT -- AND IT TIES TO THE 2,000-FOOT RULE AS WELL -- UNTIL I'M SURE THAT I HAVE THOSE TOOLS IN PLACE, I DON'T WANT TO CHANGE THE 2,000-FOOT RULE. I'M GOING TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF PUBLIC SAFETY. WE NEED TO DEVELOP THOSE TOOLS, DEVELOP THE TRACKING AND MONITORING SO THAT WE HAVE THE BEST TECHNOLOGY OUT THERE. AS WE DO THAT, WE CAN MAKE SOME CHANGES IN WHO WE'RE TRACKING, WHO WE'RE MONITORING, WHO WE'RE PUTTING ON THE REGISTRY. BUT WE HAVE TO DO THAT FIRST.

Glover: SENATOR KREIMAN, HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHO IS LIKELY TO GO OUT AND COMMIT ANOTHER SEX CRIME? SENATOR LAMBERTI TALKS ABOUT ASSESSMENT TOOLS. HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

Kreiman: WELL, THE PROBLEM UP TILL NOW IS WHETHER OR NOT WE HAVE TOOLS WHICH WILL ACCURATELY ASSESS WHETHER SOMEBODY IS MORE LIKELY THAN ANOTHER PERSON TO GO OUT AND REOFFEND. WE CHANGED THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO BECAUSE THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY CAME IN AND TOLD THE LEGISLATURE THERE WERE NO ACCURATE ASSESSMENT TOOLS. SO I AGREE WITH SENATOR LAMBERTI. THERE IS NOT GOING TO BE ANY CHANGE IN THE 2,000-FOOT LAW OR PROBABLY ANY OTHER PART OF THE SEX OFFENDER LAW, IN THE BRACELETTING, IN THE MONITORING, UNTIL WE'RE SURE THAT THERE IS -- THERE ARE ACCURATE ASSESSMENT TOOLS.

Glover: AND THERE'S BEEN A BIG FLAP UP AT THE LEGISLATURE ABOUT 24-7 MONITORING OF SEX OFFENDERS. DO YOU AGREE YOU CAN'T MONITOR EVERYBODY ON THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY?

Kreiman: THE BILL WE PASSED LAST YEAR DOES NOT REQUIRE REAL-TIME MONITORING OF EVERYBODY ON THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY.

Glover: RIGHT.

Kreiman: THE BILL WE PASSED LAST YEAR DOES REQUIRE REAL-TIME MONITORING OF CHILD SEX ABUSERS. AND, YES, WE HAVE ENOUGH FUNDS. WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO MONITOR THOSE PEOPLE 24 HOURS, FULL TIME.

Glover: SENATOR LAMBERTI, THE SAME QUESTION TO YOU.

Lamberti: WELL, I DON'T THINK YOU SHOULD BE MONITORING, AS KEITH SAID, EVERYBODY 24/7 THAT'S ON THE LIST. AND THAT GOES BACK INTO THE RISK ASSESSMENT: FINDING OUT WHO IS THE MOST LIKELY TO REOFFEND; WHO ARE YOU THE MOST CONCERNED ABOUT. THEN WE WANT TO USE THE BEST TECHNOLOGY AND MAKE SURE WE ARE MONITORING THEM AS WELL. BUT AGAIN, UNTIL YOU'RE SURE ABOUT HOW YOU'RE MAKING THOSE DECISIONS, WE'RE GOING TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF PUBLIC SAFETY. WE'RE GOING TO MONITOR AND TRACK MORE PEOPLE THAN MAYBE WE NEED TO UNTIL WE DEVELOP THE TOOLS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE PROTECTING PUBLIC SAFETY. WE'RE ALWAYS GOING TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF PUBLIC SAFETY.

Henderson: SENATOR KREIMAN, YOU SAID, THOUGH, THERE WILL BE NO CHANGES IN THE 2,000-FOOT RULE IN THE NEAR FUTURE. BUT THE COUNTY ATTORNEYS OF IOWA, THE PEOPLE WHO PROSECUTE CRIMES, SAY THE 2,000-FOOT LAW ISN'T WORKING, IT'S WASTING LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES, AND IT WOULD BE BETTER TO FOCUS ON OTHER METHODS TO ADDRESS THE SEX OFFENDER PROBLEM, LIKE THE 'SAFE HAVEN BILL' THAT YOU TALKED ABOUT, RESTRICTING WHERE FOLKS MAY LOITER AROUND CHILDREN. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO COUNTY ATTORNEYS WHO SAY THIS JUST ISN'T WORKING AND YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING ELSE?

Kreiman: WHAT I SAY TO THEM IS THAT SO FAR THE 2,000-FOOT RESTRICTION HASN'T BEEN IN PLACE FOR VERY LONG IN THIS STATE. IT HAS RAISED SOME CONCERNS, FOR EXAMPLE, WITH KEEPING TRACK OF PEOPLE WHO LIST THEIR ADDRESSES AS CARS OR TRANSIENT MOTELS. AND WE'RE LOOKING AT THOSE PROBLEMS. BUT, YOU KNOW, WE DON'T HAVE THE STATISTICS. WE DON'T HAVE THE EXPERIENCE WITH THIS LAW YET TO SAY WE'RE GOING TO SCRAP IT OR MODIFY IT IN ANY SIGNIFICANT WAY.

Henderson: DO THE COUNTY ATTORNEYS' OBJECTIONS SWAY YOU, SENATOR LAMBERTI?

Lamberti: NOT UNTIL WE HAVE THOSE TOOLS IN PLACE WHERE WE KNOW WHO WE SHOULD BE TRACKING AND MONITORING. AGAIN, WE'RE GOING TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF PUBLIC SAFETY. AND HAS IT CREATED SOME DIFFICULTIES? SURE. BUT I THINK IT'S VERY PREMATURE TO SAY IT SIMPLY DOESN'T WORK. IN FACT, I THINK IN A LOT OF RESPECTS IT IS WORKING. WE DO NEED TO CONTINUE TO GET BETTER TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE. THEN WE CAN START TO MAKE CHANGES WHERE WE THINK THEY'RE APPROPRIATE. BUT UNTIL WE HAVE THOSE TOOLS IN PLACE, I'M NOT GOING TO ADVOCATE CHANGING THAT LAW.

Glover: SENATOR KREIMAN, AS MENTIONED EARLIER, THERE IS A STATE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY WHERE WE LIST PUBLICLY SEX OFFENDERS IN THE STATE. ARE THERE THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE TO MAKE THAT REGISTRY MORE EFFECTIVE? HOW DO YOU MAKE THAT REGISTRY AVAILABLE TO A LOT OF PEOPLE IN IOWA THAT DON'T HAVE ACCESS THE INTERNET? WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE REGISTRY?

Kreiman: WELL, THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO TO MAKE IT MORE EFFECTIVE. FOR EXAMPLE, THE SHERIFFS WHO TAKE THE NEW ADDRESSES FROM THE SEX OFFENDERS, THEY NEED TO GET THAT INFORMATION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. WE'RE WORKING ON THAT PROBLEM. WE'RE WORKING ON THE PROBLEM WHERE A SEX OFFENDER WILL GIVE THE SEX REGISTRY ONE ADDRESS AND YET THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES OR THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ANOTHER ADDRESS. SO WE'RE WORKING ON THAT PROBLEM. REGARDING THE INTERNET AND HOW PEOPLE CAN FIND OUT, AGAIN, PEOPLE CAN GO TO THEIR LOCAL SHERIFF'S OFFICE, THEY CAN GO TO THE LIBRARY, AND THEY CAN FIND OUT WHERE THE SEX OFFENDERS LIVE IN THEIR AREA. BUT REMEMBER, WITH THE 2,000-FOOT LAW, YOU KNOW, IN MOST OF OUR COMMUNITIES, PEOPLE AREN'T GOING TO BE LIVING NEAR SEX OFFENDERS ANYMORE, AND I'VE NOTICED THAT IN MY COMMUNITY.

Glover: SENATOR LAMBERTI, SAME QUESTION TO YOU. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE WITH THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY AND CAN IT BE AN EFFECTIVE TOOL TO WARN PEOPLE ABOUT POTENTIAL ABUSERS?

Lamberti: WELL, I THINK IT ALREADY IS A PRETTY EFFECTIVE TOOL. IF YOU GET ON IT AND TAKE A LOOK AT IT, IT'S PRETTY EFFECTIVE. I THINK WHAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE IS WE HAVE SUFFICIENT RESOURCES SO THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE GETTING ADDED TO THE LIST ARE GETTING ADDED IN A TIMELY FASHION. -- WE DON'T WANT A DELAY -- AND THEN AS PEOPLE CHANGE ADDRESSES AND THOSE KINDS OF THINGS, THAT THE INFORMATION IS UPDATED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. THAT REQUIRES TECHNOLOGY. THAT REQUIRES MANPOWER. WE COMMITTED LAST YEAR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES. IF WE NEED ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT IS TIMELY, REAL-TIME INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE, WE'LL CONTINUE TO DO THAT. IT'S A PRETTY GOOD TOOL NOW. WE CAN IMPROVE IT MOSTLY BY HOW TIMELY THE INFORMATION IS POSTED.

Henderson: SENATOR LAMBERTI, MOMENTS AGO SENATOR KREIMAN SAID MOST OF THE SEX CRIMES THAT ARE COMMITTED IN IOWA ARE COMMITTED BY SOMEONE THE CHILD KNOWS. MOST OF THESE PROPOSALS THAT YOU'VE BEEN DISCUSSING DEAL WITH STRANGERS WHO ATTACK CHILDREN. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH ADULTS WHO PREY ON RELATIVES OR THE CHILDREN OF FRIENDS? HOW DO ATTACK THAT PROBLEM?

Lamberti: WELL, UNFORTUNATELY, IF A PARENT ALLOWS THAT KIND OF BEHAVIOR TO GO ON IN THEIR HOME, SOMETIMES WITH THEIR KNOWLEDGE, THERE'S NOT A LOT THAT THE LAW THAT KEITH OR I PASS CAN DO, AND THAT'S SAD. HAVING NEIGHBORS, FAMILY MEMBERS REPORT THAT IS IMPORTANT. BUT HOW WE TAKE CARE OF THAT PROBLEM IS WE MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE THAT ZERO TOLERANCE, SO IF IT DOES HAPPEN, IT'S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN. WE HAVE TO SIMPLY HAVE THE TOUGHEST LAWS IN THE COUNTRY IN DEALING WITH SEX OFFENDERS. I'M NOT SURE THAT KEITH AND I CAN STOP ALL OF IT, BUT WE CAN CERTAINLY REDUCE IT BY MAKING SURE THAT THESE FOLKS ARE NEVER OUT ON THE STREET AGAIN.

Henderson: SENATOR KREIMAN, YOU MENTIONED THAT THIS $1.2 MILLION THAT YOU'RE SUGGESTING BE SPENT IN THIS ARENA WOULD BE SPENT ON TREATMENT. DOES TREATMENT WORK FOR FOLKS WHO HAVE THIS PREDILECTION?

Kreiman: WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT TREATMENT FOR THE SEX OFFENDERS. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TREATMENT AND COUNSELING FOR THE KIDS AND FOR THE FAMILIES. BUT IF I MAY INTERJECT A LITTLE ON YOUR LAST QUESTION TO SENATOR LAMBERTI. THE ONE STRIKE AND YOU'RE OUT BILL ALSO INCLUDES A PROVISION WHICH MAKES IT A 'D' FELONY FOR PEOPLE TO HARBOR OR TO ASSIST IN ANY WAY PEOPLE WHO TRY TO AVOID BEING ON THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY. SO I THINK THAT WILL HELP THAT FAMILY SITUATION ALSO.

Yepsen: IS THAT A CRIME NOW, SENATOR, HARBORING?

Kreiman: HARBORING IS ARGUABLY A CRIME. IT'S A LITTLE BIT DIFFICULT TO PROSECUTE NOW UNDER THE PRESENT LAWS. SO I THINK -- I THINK THE ONE STRIKE AND YOU'RE OUT BILL WILL HELP IT.

Glover: SENATOR LAMBERTI, ON A BROADER LAW ENFORCEMENT QUESTION, THERE'S A GOOD DEAL OF DEBATE IN THIS STATE ABOUT WHETHER WE NEED TO BUILD A NEW PRISON TO REPLACE THE CENTURIES-OLD PRISON DOWN IN FORT MADISON. WHERE DO YOU COME ON THAT?

Lamberti: I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE THE BEST INFORMATION BEFORE WE MAKE THAT DECISION, AND I DON'T THINK WE HAVE IT AT THIS POINT IN TIME. I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE OVERALL SYSTEM AND WHAT OUR NEEDS ARE. THE DISCUSSION IS ABOUT AN $80-MILLION PRISON THAT WOULD BE A SUPERMAX. I THINK FIRST WE NEED TO ASK THE QUESTION: DO WE NEED A SUPERMAX THAT IS THAT BIG; HOW MANY PEOPLE DO WE REALLY NEED IN A SUPERMAX SECURITY PRISON? IT MAY THAT WE COULD GO SMALLER AND KEEP FORT MADISON OPEN AS A MEDIUM-SECURITY PRISON. I JUST DON'T THINK WE HAVE THE INFORMATION. I THINK WE WANT TO SPEND THIS YEAR STUDYING THAT ISSUE, LEARN WHAT OUR NEEDS ARE. I DON'T SEE US AUTHORIZING THE CONSTRUCTION A NEW PRISON THIS YEAR.

Glover: SENATOR KREIMAN, THE SAME QUESTION TO YOU. IS THAT SOMETHING THAT WILL BE SETTLED THIS YEAR?

Kreiman: WE'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. WE'VE LOOKED AT THAT FACILITY AND I WILL TELL YOU THAT AS TO RIGHT NOW, I HAVE NOT BEEN CONVINCED THAT WE NEED TO PUT THAT MONEY UP TO BUILD A NEW PRISON.

Glover: AND MARVIN VAN HAAFTEN, THE STATE'S DRUG CZAR, HAS SUGGESTED THAT ONE OF THE STEPS THAT THE LEGISLATURE COULD TAKE IS CREATING A DRUG PRISON, A PRISON DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY TO TREAT DRUG CRIMINALS. AN IDEA YOU LIKE?

Kreiman: THAT IS AN IDEA THAT I LIKE. WE NEED TO DO THAT. WE NEED TO PUT MORE EFFORT INTO REHABILITATION. WE NEED TO PUT MORE MONEY INTO TREATING SEX OFFENDERS IN OUR PRISONS. RIGHT NOW UP TO 85, 90 PERCENT OF EVERY PERSON IN PRISON HAS AN ALCOHOL OR DRUG PROBLEM. IF WE TOOK CARE OF THOSE PROBLEMS, THERE WOULD BE A LOT FEWER VICTIMS IN IOWA AND A LOT MORE SPACE IN OUR PRISONS FOR THE SEXUAL PREDATORS AND VIOLENT CRIMINALS.

Glover: SENATOR LAMBERTI, A DRUG PRISON A GOOD IDEA?

Lamberti: I THINK IT'S SOMETHING WE SHOULD TAKE A LOOK AT. IT IS TRUE, A LOT OF OUR PRISONERS HAVE DRUG PROBLEMS. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE GET THEM TREATMENT. I GUESS THE ONE THING I WOULD POINT OUT, IT'S A GOOD PLACE TO START BUT WE MAY NEED MORE THAN ONE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE NUMBERS. BUT I THINK IT IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD START WITH AND EXPLORE.

Glover: BUT NOT THIS YEAR?

Lamberti: I DON'T KNOW. I HAVEN'T SEEN A PROPOSAL IN THAT KIND OF SPECIFICITY TO KNOW WHAT I WOULD BE FUNDING BUT, YEAH, WE'D TAKE A LOOK AT IT.

Yepsen: GENTLEMEN, I WANT TO SWITCH GEARS. SENATOR LAMBERTI, AS YOU KNOW WE ALWAYS SAVE TIME ON THIS PROGRAM TO TALK POLITICS. YOU ARE A CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS AGAINST LEONARD BOSWELL. SENATOR BOSWELL HAS HAD A BOUT OF HEALTH PROBLEMS. IS HIS HEALTH AN ISSUE IN YOUR CAMPAIGN?

Lamberti: NOT AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED. WHEN I ENTERED THE RACE, I BELIEVED THAT LEONARD BOSWELL WAS MY OPPONENT. HE SAYS HE'S RUNNING. I TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD. AND FOR ME, THAT'S THE END OF THE DISCUSSION. IT'S NOT FOR ME TO BE DISCUSSING HIS HEALTH. SO FOR ME IT'S A NONISSUE.

Yepsen: WELL, DO YOU THINK HE'S PHYSICALLY FIT TO SERVE IN CONGRESS FOR ANOTHER TERM?

Lamberti: AS FAR AS I CAN TELL. AGAIN, THAT'S NOT FOR ME TO DECIDE. THAT WOULD BE UP TO THE VOTERS. BUT I HAVEN'T FOLLOWED HIS HEALTH SITUATION THAT CLOSELY.

Glover: SO YOU'LL NEVER TALK ABOUT HIS HEALTH AND THE 60 OR 70 POUNDS THAT HE'S LOST AND THE GAUNT EXPRESSION HE HAS IN HIS FACE? YOU'LL NEVER BRING THAT UP?

Lamberti: 'I' WON'T.

Glover: YOU JUST RECENTLY TRODDED OUT A FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REPORT THAT SHOWED YOU RAISED NEARLY HALF A MILLION DOLLARS LAST YEAR, AMONG THE STRONGEST FINANCIAL SHOWINGS OF ANY CHALLENGER IN CONGRESSIONAL RACES. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? WHERE IS THAT COMING FROM? WHAT DOES THAT SAY?

Lamberti: YOU KNOW, IT'S COMING FROM OVER 700 INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS, MUCH OF IT FROM IOWA. AND WHAT IT SAYS IS THEY BELIEVE IN ME. WE'VE BEEN GETTING BROAD SUPPORT THROUGHOUT NOT JUST THE THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, THE WHOLE STATE OF IOWA. AND I'M REALLY PLEASED BY THE KIND OF SUPPORT THAT WE'VE GOT. THAT'S WHAT THAT MEANS. AND I THINK WHAT IT MEANS IS THEY BELIEVE IN THE MESSAGE. AND THE MESSAGE IS CHANGE IN WASHINGTON. PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF EVERYTHING BEING A PARTISAN ISSUE. YOU KNOW, I'M IN A DIVIDED SENATE RIGHT NOW. AND IF I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO WORK WITH THE OTHER SIDE, I COULDN'T GET ANYTHING DONE. A GOOD EXAMPLE IS THE BILL THAT WE INTRODUCED WITH 45 COSPONSORS IN THE IOWA SENATE. PEOPLE WANT ELECTED OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON WHO WILL WORK IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, WHO WILL ADDRESS PROBLEMS AND SOLVE PROBLEMS. THAT'S THE RECORD I HAVE IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.

Glover: YOU'RE IN A CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WITH MORE REGISTERED DEMOCRATS THAN REGISTERED REPUBLICANS. YOU'RE RUNNING AGAINST AN INCUMBENT. HISTORY WOULD TEACH US THAT MORE THAN 90 PERCENT OF INCUMBENTS GET REELECTED. CONVINCE US YOU'RE A SERIOUS CHALLENGER.

Lamberti: WELL, I'M A SERIOUS CHALLENGER BECAUSE I DO HAVE THAT RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. I HAVE REPRESENTED A FAIR AMOUNT OF THIS DISTRICT. I BELIEVE PEOPLE WANT SOME CHANGE IN WASHINGTON IN TERMS OF SOLVING PROBLEMS. I FEEL VERY COMFORTABLE IN TERMS OF BEING FROM POLK COUNTY AND MY ABILITY TO CONVEY A MESSAGE AND COMPETE IN POLK COUNTY. I WOULDN'T HAVE GOT IN THIS RACE UNLESS I BELIEVED I COULD WIN.

Henderson: ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE REACTION REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS HAVE MADE TO THE ETHICS SCANDALS?

Lamberti: I THINK THERE'S MORE THEY NEED TO DO. THEY'VE SPENT SOME TIME TALKING ABOUT IT, BUT THEY HAVEN'T TAKEN THAT MUCH ACTION AT THIS POINT. I'M FAIRLY COMFORTABLE WITH JOHN BOEHNER BEING THE NEW MAJORITY LEADER --

Henderson: HE'S FROM OHIO.

Lamberti: I THINK THAT WILL HELP. THERE'S MORE THEY NEED TO DO. YOU KNOW, THE GOOD THING ABOUT IOWA POLITICS, WE'VE GOT A $2.99 GIFT LAW, WHICH I THINK IS GOOD. I DON'T THINK THERE NEEDS TO BE LOBBYIST OR PRIVATE GROUPS PAYING FOR TRAVEL. WE DON'T NEED THAT. THEY NEED TO DO MORE AND I'M HOPEFUL THIS YEAR THEY WILL.

Yepsen: SENATOR KREIMAN, I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE YOU OUT OF THIS MIX. DO YOU HAVE ANY ANNOUNCEMENTS TO MAKE HERE TODAY ABOUT A CAMPAIGN FOR CONGRESS OR ANYTHING?

Kreiman: NO, I DON'T.

Yepsen: I DO WANT TO ASK THE BOTH OF YOU, THOUGH -- I'LL START WITH YOU, SENATOR KREIMAN -- WHAT ARE THE ISSUES THAT ARE GOING TO PLAY OUT IN THE BATTLE FOR CONTROL OF THE IOWA SENATE? IT'S 25/25. WE TALKED ABOUT ONE HERE, THE DEATH PENALTY. BUT IN YOUR MIND WHAT ARE THE ISSUE OR ISSUES THAT DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO USE TO GET TO 26 OR ABOVE?

Kreiman: I THINK THE MAIN ISSUE IS THOSE WORKING PEOPLE IN OUR STATE WHO GO TO WORK EVERY DAY, THEY WORK HARD, THEY TRY TO KEEP UP WITH OUR TAX SYSTEM, WITH ALL OF OUR REGULATIONS, THINGS LIKE THAT. IF THOSE PEOPLE DON'T FEEL LIKE THEY CAN GET AHEAD, AFTER, YOU KNOW, WORKING HARD, PLAYING BY THE RULES, THEN SOMETHING'S GOT TO CHANGE.

Yepsen: IN TEN SECONDS, WHAT'S THE REPUBLICAN CAMP?

Lamberti: WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS HELPING OUR SENIORS, REDUCING THEIR TAXES, REDUCING OR FREEZING THEIR PROPERTY TAXES TO KEEP THEM IN THEIR HOME. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY AND PUBLIC SAFETY. AND ON EDUCATION, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT GETTING US BACK TO NUMBER ONE. AND THAT'S NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY; IT'S ABOUT REFORMING THIS EDUCATION SYSTEM SO WE ARE NUMBER ONE.

Yepsen: THANK YOU. WE'LL CONTINUE THIS LATER. APPRECIATE YOU BEING HERE.

Lamberti: THANK YOU.

Yepsen: AND WE RETURN NEXT WEEKEND AT OUR REGULAR AIRTIMES: FRIDAY AT 7:30 AND SUNDAY AT 11.30 A.M. I'M DAVID YEPSEN SITTING IN FOR DEAN BORG. AND THANKS FOR JOINING US HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

Tags: Iowa