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House Bill 1275: Making Pastors Mandatory Child Abuse Reporters
Representative Phyllis M Heineman (R), District 13.
This bill would make pastors mandatory reporters of child abuse.
First introduced to the House on February 4, 2003, House Bill 1275 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The committee voted to defer it until the 41st legislative day, dying in committee.
Oppose. In the wake of the Roman Catholic Church scandals involving sexually abusive priests, many states are revising their child abuse reporting statutes to force clergy to report suspicions of abuse. HSLDA opposes such changes. House Bill 1275 is better than most bills that are designed to force pastors to report child abuse, because it continues to protect the pastor's right to talk to their own parishioners about spiritual matters without reporting that to the state. Despite this, nothing in South Dakota law currently prohibits a pastor from reporting evidence of abuse, so HB 1275 is not actually needed. We urge its defeat.
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