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Local People Helped Craft New Laws

The state has some new child protection laws and local community leaders helped design the new child protection laws.
HOLLIDAYSBURG, BLAIR COUNTY - The state has some new child protection laws and local community leaders helped design the new child protection laws.

Wednesday the governor signed ten bills into law designed to protect children from abuse. Lawmakers say the move took us from being one of the weakest states to one of the strongest states in child protection law. But they're not done yet.

Blair County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Bernard was there because she helped design those laws. Several years ago she prosecuted the case of Ashley Decker. Ashley had been removed form her home and then given back because she didn’t fit the legal definition of child abuse. She was later killed in the home. Ashley's father's girlfriend is serving a life sentence, but it showed Jackie Bernard more needed to be done to protect children from abuse.

So she was part of the task force that made recommendations that became laws. Like Representative Bryan Barbin's bill. His bill would keep the name of child abuse victims out of the public record even if they turned 18 during the trial. The other part of his bill would make convicted child abusers lose any professional licenses.

Jackie Bernard wants parents to understand these laws aren't there to stop them from parenting, or even punishing them. These laws are to deal with heinous cases of abuse.

The legislature is still looking at the recommendations about mandatory reporters and school reporting policy.
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