Governor LePage Submits Four Bills on Child Protective Services
As the Governor has previously stated, he will ask the legislature to consider four bills on the state’s child protective services system in response to two high-profile child abuse cases during the past year. One of the four bills, L.D. 1919, is of particular interest to the medical community because it would make a “failure to report” a potential indicator of child abuse or neglect by a so-called “mandated reporter” a Class E crime.
The 128th Maine Legislature last convened at the State House on July 9th, but did not adjourn sine die its First Special Session on that date. Legislators returned to their districts until called back by the legislature’s presiding officers. A package of bills addressing the state’s child protective services system from the Governor has been anticipated.
The four bills are:
- L.D. 1919, An Act To Criminalize the Failure To Make a Report of Child Abuse or Neglect as Required by Statute;
- L.D. 1920, An Act To Modify the Expungement Requirements for Records under the Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act;
- L.D. 1921, An Act To Grant the Department of Health and Human Services Access to Criminal History Information To Achieve the Purposes of the Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act and
- L.D. 1922, An Act To Amend the Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act.
The four bills have been referred to the legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Health & Human Services and that committee will hold a public hearing on the bills beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, August 27th in Room 209 of the Cross State Office Building. The Committee has scheduled a work session on the bills for 2:00 p.m. that same day. The House and Senate will be in session on Thursday, August 30th when we expect them to debate these bills.
Because of the compressed time frame, we have decided not to convene a conference call of the MMA Legislative Committee, but we would value your feedback. You may contact Gordon Smith, EVP, at [email protected] or 207-215-7461 (cell), or Andrew MacLean, Deputy EVP & General Counsel, at [email protected] or 207-215-7462 (cell).
You also can participate in the legislature’s consideration of these bills by contacting members of the HHS Committee through the committee link above, and/or contacting your own legislators using the “town list.”
As always, the MMA staff is available to help you with submission of testimony whether you can attend the hearing on Monday or not.
The legislature’s Office of Program Evaluation & Governmental Accountability (OPEGA) has reviewed the two cases and you can find its report here. You also can find a summary of other state law penalties on “failure to report” here.