NEWS: Time Running Out to Pass Erin’s Law to Address Alarming Rates of Child Sex Abuse

Rep. Tarr Calls on Senate Majority to Schedule Committee Hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2015

ANCHORAGE – Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) is calling on the leadership of the Senate to schedule Erin’s Law for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee.  This important legislation will give children and teens tools to protect themselves from dating and sexual violence.  House Bill 44 is currently held up in the Senate Finance Committee and has not yet been scheduled for consideration.

“I’ve been here before.  Last year when Erin’s Law seemed poised to cross the finish line it died in the House Finance Committee,” said Rep. Tarr.  “As the budget negotiations continue, Alaskans want to know Erin’s Law won’t be subject to the same fate as last year, when Republican leaders say it was lost in the shuffle at the end of session.” 

HB 44 now includes Bree’s Law to educate teens on dating violence prevention.  The law is named for Breanna Moore who was killed in June of last year in a terrible act of dating violence.  Her mother and father, Butch and Cindy Moore, have called for immediate action to make sure HB 44 passes.

“This bill can pass this session with the support of Senator MacKinnon,” said Cindy Moore.  “I know she is the former Executive Director of Standing Together Against Rape and she knows the dire need for this bill to protect our children.  Senator MacKinnon has two choices.  Change the bill back to its original form, which will pass both bodies, or leave it in the controversial amended form, which will kill it.”   

“Noticing the bill now will ensure that the Senate Finance Committee can move quickly once the work on the budget is complete,” said Butch Moore.  “The public has shown overwhelming support for the measure and the legislature should act now.  Senator MacKinnon is the co-chair of Senate Finance and she can be our next hero by changing the bill back to the original form and moving the bill out of her committee.” 

The Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition supports the version of HB 44 that was sent to the Senate in mid-April and joins First Lady Donna Walker and media outlets like the Alaska Journal of Commerce in calling for Senate leadership to immediately schedule a hearing to fix the dangerous flaws inserted by the Senate Education Committee.

Erin’s Law is named for child sex abuse survivor Erin Merryn who is working to get the law passed in all 50 states.  Merryn visited Alaska last year to testify before the Alaska Legislature and she has been following the developments with the bill this session.

“HB 44, as it stands now, is not Erin’s Law,” said Erin Merryn.  “I can’t and won’t support the bill until it is returned to the version that passed the Alaska House of Representatives with bipartisan support.  I’m watching and hopeful that the Senate Majority takes action and gets the bill passed this year.”

Supporters of HB 44 can join almost 700 Alaskans that have signed an online petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/alaskasafechildrensbill

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