This week, Frontiers looks at how legislation aimed at protecting children has turned into a political football. The show follows the bill’s twists and turns during the 90-day session and the special session in Anchorage.
Currently the fate of House Bill 44, the Alaska Safe Children’s act, hangs in the balance.
The measure recently underwent a substantial rewrite in Sen. Mike Dunleavy’s Senate Education Committee, much to the anger of HB 44 supporters, who say Dunleavy’s changes have effectively killed the bill.
The measure has one more stop, the Senate Finance Committee, but it has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
Sen. Anna MacKinnon, co-chair of Senate Finance, says she hopes to begin hearings on HB 44 next week, but wants to deal with the budget first.
The legislation is most often called Erin’s Law, after Erin Merryn, a child sexual abuse survivor on a national campaign to get every state to require schools to teach children about sexual assault.
The name was changed after HB 44 incorporated a new component, Bree’s Law, which would require schools to teach older students about dating violence.
Supporters of the Alaska’s Safe Children Act say it’s badly needed in a state with one of the highest rates of child sexual abuse in the nation, as well women murdered by men – statistics that give the state a black eye.
Our special guests on this week’s Frontiers:
- First Lady Donna Walker, who supports Erin’s law.
- Butch and Cindy Moore, parents of Bree Moore, who police say was shot and killed by her boyfriend