DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Legislature has sent to the governor a measure lessening the penalties for people who unknowingly expose someone to HIV with no intention of infecting them.
The House in the early morning hours Thursday passed a version of the bill the Senate had approved in February. The Legislature worked overtime to adjourn for the year passing the bill at around 2 a.m.
The bill changes a current law that says if someone exposes a partner to HIV without their consent, they can be convicted of a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
The bill expands state laws against transmitting HIV to include other contagious and infectious diseases including hepatitis, tuberculosis and menningicocal disease and requires the transmission to be known for criminal charges to be filed, reports the Des Moines Register.
It’s intended to revise a “badly outdated and draconian” law regarding the transmission of HIV, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, and others have said.
People would be eligible for 25 year sentences only if they intend to transmit a disease without someone’s knowledge.