BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A bill that would reduce the number of people required to report suspected child abuse narrowly won approval from a panel of Idaho lawmakers.
The House Judiciary and Rules Committee approved the bill in a 9-8 vote, The Times-News reported.
Currently, anyone in the state who sees evidence of child abuse, abandonment or neglect is required to report that evidence to law enforcement, and those who don’t can be charged with a misdemeanor. The legislation approved by the committee on Wednesday would remove that requirement for most Idaho residents, leaving only teachers, doctors, law enforcement officials and social workers as mandatory reporters.
Rep. Heather Scott, a Republican from Blanchard, says unfounded child abuse claims cost taxpayers money, and noted residents would still be allowed to report abuse if they wanted to.
But Boise Democratic Rep. John McCrostie and Twin Falls Republican Rep. Linda Hartgen both opposed the legislation, saying it could lead to under-reporting of child abuse, causing real harm to Idaho kids.
The bill now heads to the full House for consideration.