DES MOINES — Several harbingers that adjournment of the 2018 session may be in the offing were evident Monday at the Statehouse.
White packing boxes began to stack up in the Iowa House chambers for representatives to use in readying for their returns home.
Another sign that the year is winding down did appear in the Senate, however, when senators began honoring members who will be retiring at the ends of their current terms.
Sen. Wally Horn, D-Cedar Rapids, was the first to be feted with retirement tributes.
In the House, 12 Republicans and four Democrats are retiring or running for other offices.
And the most pronounced signal that it’s time for legislators to adjourn arrives today, when their daily expense money runs out.
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed four bills into law Monday, including a measure to toughen the state’s kidnapping statute and one dealing with stun guns.
The governor signed Senate File 2230, which would make the crime of kidnapping of a minor 17 or younger by a stranger a forcible Class B felony punishable by a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.
The Iowa County Attorneys Association had sought the change in the aftermath of a 2013 case involving Michael Klunder of rural Stratford. He abducted Dayton teenagers Kathlynn Shepard and Dezi Hughes, then 15 and 12, and took them to a hog confinement facility where he worked.
Klunder killed Shepard and tried to dispose of her body in a river. He later killed himself.
Hughes was able to escape when Klunder separated the girls after the kidnapping.
The county attorneys’ group contends Klunder would not have been freed had he been serving consecutive terms on previous kidnapping charges.
The governor also signed Senate File 2321, which keeps stun guns classified as a dangerous weapon but removes the requirement that a person would need a permit to carry or possess the guns.
The bill also requires a person to be 18 years old to legally buy a Taser or stun gun.
Proponents say the change was made to acknowledge that various family members may use a stun gun for protection.