NEWS: Four Days Left in Session – Still No Erin’s Law

Rep. Tarr and Erin Merryn

Rep. Geran Tarr Renews Call for Passage of Erin’s Law Legislation

April 15, 2015

JUNEAU – There are four days left in the first session of the 29th Alaska Legislature and vital legislation called Erin’s Law is still stalled in committee.  Erin’s Law could immediately empower children to protect themselves from harm. 

“I am a retired RN and have seen some of these victims,” said Sandra Garrity of Homer, who testified on Senate Bill 37 Tuesday in the Senate Education Committee. “I came from a family of 4 girls, and we have our grandchildren and some great grandchildren, and in our small circle we have 4 sexually abused victims. We’re a middle class family, we’re a well-educated family, and back then even with my professional background I did not understand the extent of this.”

SB 37 is just one of the four Erin’s Law bills filed this session.  All four are still stuck in committee and have not advanced to either the House or Senate Floors.  Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) first introduced Erin’s Law legislation last year but the companion bill in the Senate ultimately failed to pass the House after unanimous support in the Senate.  Rep. Tarr renewed her efforts to pass Erin’s Law by prefiling House Bill 23 before the start of this legislative session. 

“The discussion of Erin’s Law is bringing Alaska’s silent epidemic of child sexual abuse into light,” said Rep. Tarr.  “Communities, cities, the public, and legislators are hearing the stories first hand from Alaskans they know who unfortunately suffered at the hands of an abuser when they were children. Erin’s Law could help keep kids safe.”

Erin’s Law is named after child sex abuse survivor Erin Merryn, who visited the legislature last year.  The law has been proven in many other states to prevent child sexual abuse by requiring public school

Erin’s Law is needed to address the disturbingly high number of child sexual abuse cases in Alaska.  The Office of Children’s Services is reporting there were 290 allegations of child sexual abuse in March. There have been a total of 1,592 child sexual abuse allegations since the start of the school year.

For more information about Erin’s Law contact Rep. Geran Tarr at (907) 465-3424.



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