Fentanyl Death is now a first-degree crime according to a new Iowa bill

Des Moines, Iowa: On Wednesday, a bill was approved by the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee that would make it a first-degree murder charge for someone who supplied fentanyl that caused another person to die.

As a Class A felony, first-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of release in Iowa.

Out of five committee members who voted against House File 2576, one was Senator Janice Weiner (D-Iowa City).

What worries me is that I don’t think this will serve as a deterrence. According to Weiner, the current sentencing guidelines for drug dealers are insufficient, despite the fact that they are extremely severe (50 years multiplied by three). “I would really rather see us focus or our efforts on prevention and on helping those who suffer from opioid-use disorder and other measures the Opioid Settlement Fund could help among other things rather than putting murder one on someone who honestly may not have had a clue was in the pill.”

Democrats in the House also contested the measure, raising concerns about the severity of the penalty.

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Iowa Republican Rep. Ann Meyer (R-Fort Dodge) declared, “This is an extreme punishment because we have an extreme problem” when she introduced the measure to the House. And I’m here to defend the loved ones of individuals who, for whatever reason, are falling for the counterfeit pill craze that is sweeping our state at the moment. We require a drastic measure.

With two MPs abstaining, the bill was approved by the House with a vote of 88-12. The next stop is the entire Senate.

Legislation along these lines is now being considered in Congress. Last year, a group of senators led by Republican Marco Rubio of Florida proposed a bill that would make drug traffickers guilty of first-degree murder in cases where their narcotics caused the death of another person. That measure is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In December, Republican Darrell Issa of California presented “Alexandra’s Law” to make convicted fentanyl dealers admit that the drug is deadly and that dealing it again might result in murder charges. The 20-year-old lady whose death occurred as a result of ingesting a fake oxycodone pill is commemorated by the measure.