► With Kids At Risk, Washington's Legislature Refuses To Act

► The Sacrament of Confession vs Evil Against Kids

► Washington Trails The Nation In Requiring Clergy To Help Protect Children

For the second year in a row, legislation that would require clergy to report child abuse or neglect died in committee in Olympia.

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Showdown- Confidentiality vs Criminality

The Columbian reports that the State Senate passed a bill, SB 6298, that would require religious leaders to report any concerns they may have if they think a child is at imminent risk of harm but the legislation exempted any such disclosures made during a confessional.

Senate Bill 6298 went to the House of Representatives Human Services, Youth and Early Learning Committee where it failed to pass because members of both political parties on the committee did not want to authorize the confession exemption. Committee chair, Mercer Island Democrat Representative Tana Senn: 

We had an honest discussion of issues in our caucus and with the other side and we didn’t have the votes to get it out of the committee. People are really concerned about kids and don’t want to give anyone a pass...People are really concerned about kids and <span style="text-decoration: underline;">don’t want to give anyone a pass </span>
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Washington's Lawmakers Stuck On The Same Difficult Issue

A similar Bill failed last year and again it was the Senate seeking to protect the confessional process while the House sought to protect the children.

 Senator. Noel Frame, D-Seattle, wrote both bills.

This has been unaddressed for 20 years. It’s going to be unaddressed for another year.

The issue is a classic confrontation between Good and Evil. It's the inviolable nature of the Sacrament of Confession versus the imperative of protecting our most vulnerable children. With neither side willing to budge, nothing gets done.

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Most Other States Have Clergy Requirements Already In Place

Under Washington State law, teachers, police, registered nurses, social service counselors, and members of several other professions are mandated to report to law enforcement if they have reason to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect. Missing from that list are the state's clergy. Washington is one of just a few states without such a law. 

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