Bill defines reporting guidelines in abuse cases
The House of Representatives passed a bill Sunday during a holiday weekend session, amending the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act and instituting clear guidelines for mandated reporters, including clergy members.
Senate Bill 1778 was sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) in the House. It received 91 Yes votes and 14 No votes.
Rep. Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) asked several questions about how "clergy" would be defined.
"What does the clergy involve? Is it Sunday school teachers? How far does this go?" Weber questioned. "Will there be a state list of ministers? My concern is people who go on a website and get ordained, but they don’t know they’re mandated reporters. We need to reach out to them."
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) asked what the consequences were if a clergy member did not report abuse or neglect, which are a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and Class 4 felony for subsequent offenses.
The bill requires groups of people to report abuse and neglect to the Department of Children and Family Services, including medical personnel; social services and mental health personnel; crisis intervention personnel; education personnel; recreation or athletic program or facility personnel; child care personnel; law enforcement personnel; funeral home directors, clergy members and physicians and other specified medical personnel who provide abortions, abortion referrals or contraceptives.
The bill previously passed in the Senate with 43 Yes votes and 8 No votes.