WA Bill Would Require Clergy (confession) to Report Child Abuse
Perhaps one of the most hotly contested bills this session.
Bill passes state house, would require mandatory reporting
WA is one of only a handful of states that do not require clergy members to report claims of child abuse to authorities.
The Washington State House has passed SB 5280, which already cleared the Senate by a unanimous vote. However, sharp divides occurred in the House when it was debated.
It received amendments in the House, and now the decision will be either to keep them or remove them to close it out, according to MyNorthwest.com.
There are only 7 states who do not have such laws on the books. This would most likely affect those of the Catholic faith, due to confession with a priest. The bill stipulates the priest must be an 'official' or ordained individual.
According to MyNorthwest.com, there are many professionals who are considered mandatory in reporting allegations of child abuse:
"...Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) employees, law enforcement, social workers, professional school personnel, county coroners, and health care providers alongside employees of social service, welfare, mental health, home care, and home health agencies are required to be mandatory reporters, according to the DHSH."
The debated point of the bill was whether to include confessions (Catholic), that was included in the bill and now the Senate must decide whether to keep that provision before it goes to the Governor for signature.
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