News Release: Michigan Catholic Conference Praises Senate For Passing House Bill 5984, Amending Michigan’s Child Protection Law

December 11, 2002

LANSING—The Michigan Senate passed House Bill 5984 by a vote of 33–0 earlier today, 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.

“Passage today of House Bill 5984 by the Senate continues the positive steps needed for the protection of children and young people,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy, Paul A. Long. “The Senate is 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,” Long said.

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 with a member of the clergy acting in their professional character confidential.

“We believe this to be the appropriate measure at this moment in time,” said Long. “It is important that HB 5984 was passed by this legislature during this lame-duck period. We look forward to Governor Engler signing this critical legislation.”

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

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