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Reynolds approves ’duty to assist’ law spurred by Tiffin teen’s drowning
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Reynolds approves ’duty to assist’ law spurred by Tiffin teen’s drowning

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DES MOINES — Spurred by the drowning of a Tiffin teenager, a measure requiring the duty of onlookers to try to get help for a person in imminent and grave danger was signed into law Wednesday by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Senate File 243 grew out of the April 2020 death of Noah Herring, 15, of Tiffin, in Coralville Lake. Although three teens and an adult were present, none of them called 911, and they withheld information about his disappearance, delaying the discovery of his body for four days.

The new law requires “A person who reasonably believes another person is suffering from a risk of serious bodily injury or imminent danger of death shall, if the person is able, attempt to contact local law enforcement or local emergency response authorities, if doing so does not place the person or the other person at risk of serious bodily injury or imminent danger of death.”

The law also makes it a crime for a person to not “disclose the known location of a corpse with the intent to conceal a crime” from law enforcement.

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Violations range from misdemeanors to Class D felonies.

Reynolds also signed another bill, House File 857, to create a butchery innovation fund and form a task force to explore the feasibility of an artisanal butchery program at a community college or Board of Regents institution.

The state would make grants to smaller meat processors that could be used to buy equipment, rent cooler space or cover other costs of meeting demand.

Backers say meat processors would benefit from the growing market and farmers would benefit, too, because generally it's more profitable for farmers to sell directly to consumers than to a slaughterhouse.



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