FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2015
JUNEAU – There are 20 days left in the first session of the 29th Alaska Legislature but there is still no movement on legislation that could help end the epidemic of childhood sexual abuse in Alaska.
Erin’s Law has been proven in many other states to prevent child sexual abuse by requiring public school districts to offer prevention curriculum. There are four Erin’s Law bills under consideration this session and they all have bipartisan support. However, none of the bills have advanced beyond their first committee of referral. One of the Erin’s Law bills, House Bill 23, is sponsored by Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage).
“With 20 days left in the session, there is still time to pass this important child body safety legislation, but it will require the help of the Majorities in the House and Senate,” said Rep. Tarr. “Resolutions that don’t do anything in the real world sail through this legislature, yet we can’t pass legislation to protect children from abusers. Erin’s Law has been passed in 19 other states and Alaska should be 20th. We have 20 days left. It’s time.”
Erin’s Law is named after child sex abuse survivor Erin Merryn, who visited the legislature last year. One of the Erin’s Law bills is scheduled to be heard Thursday in the Senate Education Committee. Rep. Tarr is hopeful that one of the four Erin’s Law bills will gain some momentum and be passed by lawmakers this session.
“Alaska has long faced an epidemic of child sexual abuse. Silence and inaction are no longer an option,” said Rep. Tarr. “We have non-profit organizations standing by to help cover the cost of this effort. I call on my colleagues in the House and Senate to put the health and well-being of children before politics.”
Rep. Tarr will be holding a presentation on teaching personal body safety to the youth of Alaska on Thursday, April 2, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm in the Beltz Room of the Thomas Stewart Building in Juneau.
For more information, contact Rep. Geran Tarr at (907) 465-3424