i9 Fact Checker: Ad uses voting record to argue Sen. Kinney is bipartisan
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - An ad from the Iowa Democratic Party and State Senator Kevin Kinney (D-Oxford) makes a list of claims about the senator’s accomplishments in office. He’s running against another incumbent State Senator Dawn Driscoll (R-Williamsburg) after they were drawn into the same legislative district. Their race is the only election in the state legislature airing ads on TV9.
Source: Iowa Democratic Party
The ad is paid for with money from the Iowa Democratic Party. But, Sen. Kevin Kinney authorized the ad to run on television.
Claim #1: Passing bipartisan bills to protect victims,
Analysis: The campaign is referring to Senate Bill 2165, which was signed into law in 2017. The bill passed the House and Senate without a single “no” vote.
The bill, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Administration, made a number of changes to the state’s victim compensation fund. One of those changes includes allowing victims or survivors to receive up to $1,000 from the state for funeral costs. It also allows compensation to clean a crime scene, which isn’t a residence. The bill also allows those new benefits retroactively.
Sen. Kevin Kenney voted on the bill and worked on the bill in Subcommittee. He also introduced an earlier version of the payments to crime victims that was rolled into the bill that eventually became law.
Conclusion: Kinney introduced one of the early proposals that eventually was rolled into the larger bill that eventually passed with bipartisan support and became law. That’s why this gets an A.
Claim #2: (passed bills to ) keep kids safe
Analysis: The Iowa Democratic Party didn’t provide any evidence for this specific claim. However, another ad the party provided evidence for fits under this claim.
Senate File 243, according to the Legislative Services Agency, allows prosecutors to charge a person with the abuse of a corpse when somebody fails to disclose the location of the body with the intent to hide a crime.
The bill also makes it a crime if the person believes another person is suffering from a risk of serious bodily injury or imminent danger of dying if the person is able to call emergency responders. According to previous TV9 reporting, the bill was passed after a 15-year-old drowned at Coralville Lake and nobody called emergency responders.
Sen. Kinney’s name isn’t on the legislation bills online. However, he did work on it in the subcommittee and the family talks in the ad about Senator Kevin Kinney’s role in creating the legislation and navigating it through a Republican-controlled legislature.
Conclusion: Kinney specifically worked to pass these laws in response to the drowning of a 15-year-old that might have been prevented if someone called for help. That’s why this gets an A.
Claim #3: (passed bills to) “…stop human trafficking
Analysis: The Iowa Democratic Party didn’t provide any evidence for this specific claim. However, TV9 did find two bills Senator Kevin Kinney supported, which would stop human trafficking.
House File 452 was passed into law in 2021 without a single “no” vote in either chamber of the state legislature. The bill, according to the legislative services agency, makes it a crime to know about human trafficking without notifying law enforcement and requires a licensed massage therapist or cosmetologist to show their license during an investigation into illegal services.
The agency also believed it would increase convictions related to human trafficking due to an expanded definition, which was zero during fiscal years 2019 and 2020.
House File 2259 was passed into law in 2020 without a single “no” vote in either chamber of the state legislature. According to the legislative service agency, the bill would require logging businesses to train employees on stopping human trafficking or not allow public funds spent at those locations.
Conclusion: From public records, Kinney did little more than vote for these bipartisan bills. But that’s all the ad claims, so this gets an A.
Claim #4: shield domestic abuse victims
Analysis: The Iowa Democratic Party told TV9 it is referring to Senate File 552, which was signed into law in June 2022. According to the Legislative Services Agency, the bill would make elder abuse a crime. Prosecutors can also charge somebody if a person financially exploits an older individual.
Sen. Kinney worked on the subcommittee that initially approved the bill. AARP, who has been lobbying for the legislation for years praised Sen. Kinney and Sen. Jeff Reichman (R-Montrose) for their work on the bill. Sen. Kinney also attended the bill singing, according to photos on Facebook.
Conclusion: Elder abuse is a type of domestic abuse and based on his committee work and involvement celebrating its passing, it’s clear he had a hand in making it law, which is why this gets an A.
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