MARSHALL - A bill being proposed to change the way crimes against children are reported has passed through a committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The next stop for House File 1899, or Jacob's Law, will be the House Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee, said Sarah Guggisberg, a Clara City resident who has advocated the creation of the law.
Guggisberg was one of the people giving testimony on the bill before the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee on Wednesday morning. As introduced to the Legislature, Jacob's Law would amend existing state law to require that each parent or guardian of a child be notified of victim's rights if the child is the victim of an alleged crime.
Social services would also be notified if a child is abused outside the home, and access to police reports on a child would be made part of a parent's or guardian's rights.
The bill has received the support of several southwest Minnesota legislators so far, including District 13B Rep. Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, District 21A Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, District 13A Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck and District 20B Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City.
The Jacob's Law bill passed the Public Safety committee, but "They will need to do a little bit of a change," based on testimony and questions raised Wednesday, Guggisberg said. In particular, the bill will need to be changed so that parents or families under an order for protection wouldn't be forced to contact a person they're being protected from.
The bill would go before the Judiciary Committee in two weeks, Guggisberg said.
- Deb Gau