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Update on HB 1247

alaska-2012-0012There are several bills that CACSD has been monitoring this Session and one of them is House Bill 1247.

On Monday, February 22, HB 1247 was heard in House State Affairs Committee and tabled at the request of Jenna Quinn.  HB 1247 is based on a Texas law named after Jenna Quinn (Jenna’s Law) which mandates schools to set policy and provide child sexual abuse training for all employees.

Jenna Quinn is an adult survivor of child sexual abuse, and was present in the State Affairs Committee room for the hearing.  Stacie Rumenap, President of Stop Child Predators Organization testified in support of HB 1247.  Ms. Rumenap provided statistics emphasizing the extent of the problem in South Dakota.  She explained that most children do not tell, and those that do are not likely to tell their parents.

Laws such as Jenna’s Law are important steps in helping school personnel identify and properly respond to child sexual abuse disclosures.

According to Ms. Rumenap, funding of Jenna’s Law training requirements does not have to be a barrier to implementation.  She mentioned federal funding and non-profit organizations as possible resources, specifically referring to the Darkness to Light Organization’s on-line training.

Ms. Rumenap concluded by speaking for both herself and Jenna Quinn commending the South Dakota Jolene’s Law Task Force and the work the Task Force has been doing.  Ms. Rumenap explained that Ms. Quinn wants to be part of the Jolene’s Law Task Force discussions and part of the solutions in South Dakota.  She then respectfully requested that the Committee ‘table’ the bill to allow for Ms. Quinn to be a part of these ongoing discussions.

The Committee did ‘table’ HB 1247, essentially killing the bill. Committee members also expressed their appreciation to Ms. Quinn and Ms. Rumenap for coming to South Dakota and for their willingness to work with our state to address this issue.  Representatives also voiced their desire that South Dakota not be one of the last states to pass this type of legislation.

CACSD would like to thank the sponsors of the bill:

Representatives GoschAndersonBartlingHaggar (Don)HawleyLanger, and Westra and Senators Greenfield (Brock)Jensen (Phil)MonroeOlsonOmdahl, and Van Gerpen for bringing Ms. Rumenap and Ms. Quinn to South Dakota to testify.

We look forward to seeing Ms. Quinn playing a role in the discussions and solutions crafted that will come out of the Jolene’s Law Task Force.

The Child Advocacy Centers of South Dakota

CACSD is a network of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient – and put the needs of child victims first.

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Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family – it may even save a child’s life. Learn more about reporting child abuse here.