Volunteer or paid athletic coaches would be required to report to authorities if they have reasonable suspicion that a child may be subject to abuse or neglect under a bill filed by Governor Sean Parnell.
"The recent activities at Penn State, I know prompted a lot of the governor's including that language," said Senate Judiciary Co-Chairwoman Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage.
"It's always unfortunate when we let unfortunate circumstances like the Penn State thing stampede us into overreacting," said Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River. "Those were all very highly paid coaches that didn't report in the Penn State situation."
Dyson, who is also a member of the Judiciary Committee, has proposed an amendment removing volunteers from the legislation. He argues that volunteers don't get the same training other professionals receive to help them spot potential abuse in children.
"We hope that all of them will report anything they see about a child that's being abused or neglected," said Dyson. "But to put the force of law behind their perhaps not picking up on something is a step I'm not willing to take, without a lot more thought on the policy issue."
It will take three votes on judiciary to pass Dyson's amendment. Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, says he's unsure how he will vote."Anytime you're forcing people to do something, anytime the government is going to put the power of jail on a person for not doing something, that's always something you want to be real careful with," Sen. Wielechowski said.
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