Legislature(2017 - 2018)
2018-02-02 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2018-02-02 House Journal Page 2311 HB 324 HOUSE BILL NO. 324 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act renaming portions of the Alaska Safe Children's Act as Bree's Law; relating to the practice of marital and family therapy; relating to persons required to report child abuse and neglect; relating to training in crisis response; relating to civil immunity for disclosure of substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor or sexual misconduct against a school district employee; and providing for an effective date." 2018-02-02 House Journal Page 2312 was read the first time and referred to the Education and Labor & Commerce Committees. The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Zero, Dept. of Commerce, Community, & Economic Development 2. Zero, Dept. of Health & Social Services The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 31 follows: "Dear Speaker Edgmon: Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to prevention of child abuse. This bill recognizes the need to provide training to all persons required to report child abuse and neglect; enhance the training material relating to recognizing unhealthy relationships; training school districts to respond to disasters; and the need to provide immunity for school district employers who provide information on employees that have a verified history of sexual or other misconduct against a child. Current statute only requires State and school district employees receive mandatory reporter training, this bill would require all mandatory reporters receive this training. The training is extremely valuable as it educates the mandatory reporters on their duties, teaching them how to recognize and report child abuse or neglect. The training is available through the Department of Health and Social Services, and covers the laws relating to child abuse and neglect and methods to recognize it. By expanding who is required to receive this training, mandatory reporters will be better equipped to identify and report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. The bill would also enhance current requirements in AS 14.30.355 by expanding the existing requirement for teachers and parents to receive training relating to sexual abuse of children to include ways to identify grooming behavior. This is an unhealthy behavior by an adult who entices a child into a romantic or physical relationship. Sometimes abuse, especially sexual abuse, goes unrecognized in children. 2018-02-02 House Journal Page 2313 Learning how to recognize this behavior can help stop and possibly even prevent the abuse of a child. Additionally, the bill recognizes that schools must be prepared to address emergency situations, whether natural or of human cause. Current law requires school district employees to be trained in crisis response every two years. This bill would return that requirement to annually. The annual requirement would assure that all school district employees are trained on how to keep our children safe, no matter the cause of the crisis. This bill would also provide immunity for school district employers who provide information about substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct to other school district employers. This limited immunity would help prevent persons with a history of sexual abuse or misconduct directed toward a child from moving from one school district to another without the ability to know the person's full history. Finally, this bill would rename AS 14.30.356 Bree's Law. The important training provided under this statute recognizes the need to equip students and their parents with the tools to identify characteristics of healthy relationships, identify warning signs of unhealthy relationships, recognize dangerous behavior, and identify community resources available to help young people. The issue of child abuse and neglect is difficult to solve, but it is our responsibility to continue to do what we can to protect our children and create a Safer Alaska. I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure. Sincerely, /s/ Bill Walker Governor"