Opportunity to Comment on Legislation to Address Alarming Rates of Child Sex Abuse in Alaska
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2015
JUNEAU – Tonight, several Democratic lawmakers are hosting a public hearing on Erin’s Law, which Governor Bill Walker included on the call for the ongoing First Special Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature. Erin’s Law would require youth be taught a personal body safety curriculum that gives them information to keep them safe from child sex abusers. Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) has been a champion for Erin’s Law and introduced legislation to implement the law the past two years.
“The Republican-controlled Majorities in the House and Senate have dragged their feet all session in regards to this important legislation and it appears they are dragging their feet during the Special Session,” said Rep. Tarr. “It’s time for the people to seize this opportunity to give their testimony and hopefully move the Majority towards doing the right thing for Alaska’s children.
Rep. Tarr will be joined by Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) and Rep. Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage) in holding a public hearing on Erin’s Law tonight from 5:30-7:30 pm, at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office. Those outside Anchorage can participate by phone by calling 1-844-586-9085.
“Erin’s Law was vetted extensively last year and there were four different versions of the law before lawmakers this year, including two versions sponsored by prominent Republican women,” said Rep. Drummond. “The Majorities in the House and Senate are ignoring the wishes of the Governor, most lawmakers, and the people by not passing this important safety legislation for our children.”
Tonight’s public hearing on Erin’s Law is the latest in a series of hearings held in recent days by the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition and the Alaska Senate Democrats.
“I encourage the public to take advantage of this opportunity to let their feelings be heard about this simple tool that can prevent a lifetime of trauma to a child,” said Rep. Gruenberg. “I would hate to think that this vital piece of legislation is being held up based on the politics surrounding other issues instead of being passed on its merits.”
Erin’s Law would direct public school districts in Alaska to offer students age appropriate sexual assault awareness and prevention curricula. The law is named for child sex abuse survivor Erin Merryn, whose life’s work is to pass the law in all 50 states. Merryn is scheduled to testify during tonight’s public hearing.
Alaska is in line to become the 24th state in the nation to implement Erin’s Law.