News Release: Michigan Catholic Conference Statement on Passage of House Bill 5984, Amending Michigan’s Child Protection Law

June 19, 2002

LANSING—The Michigan House of Representatives today passed House Bill 5984, amending the Michigan Child Protection Law. House Bill 5984, sponsored by Representative Paul DeWeese (R-Williamston), amends the Child Protection Law by adding members of the clergy to the list of professionals required to report reasonable cause for child abuse.

With passage by the House, Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy, Paul A. Long, released the following statement:

“Passage today of House Bill 5984 is a positive step for the protection of children and young people. It is our belief that this is the appropriate measure at this time. Representative DeWeese and his colleagues are to be commended for passing a bill that provides greater protection for children from abuse and ensures that those who would abuse children and young people will be held responsible by the appropriate officials.

We look forward to working with members of the Senate as this bill continues in the legislative process.”

Along with providing greater protection to children and young people and ensuring that those who would perpetrate abuse be reported, House Bill 5984 protects the Religious Freedom clause of the First Amendment by keeping privileged communications between a religious leader and a member of that religion confidential.

Each of the seven Roman Catholic Dioceses in Michigan have pledged to voluntarily comply with current law until such time as House Bill 5984 is enacted.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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