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House Bill 455 — Child protection, reporting

House Bill 455 — Child protection, reporting

Parrish Miller
February 17, 2020

Bill description: HB 455 changes who is considered a mandatory reporter in relation to suspected child neglect.

Rating: +1

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

Section 16-605, Idaho Code, currently requires that "any physician, resident on a hospital staff, intern, nurse, coroner, school teacher, day care personnel, social worker, or other person" report any suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

[Emphasis added]

The statute further states that 'failure to report as required in this section shall be a misdemeanor." This language effectively criminalizes a failure to report such suspicions, and applies that standard to everyone in Idaho.

HB 455 removes "other person" and replaces it with "other health care worker," "principal or other school personnel," "professional child care worker who is at least eighteen (18) years of age," "counselor, therapist, other mental health professional, substance abuse counselor, law enforcement officer, or probation or parole officer."

The bill further clarifies who is mandated to report by specifically stating that “Any resident of this state not listed in subsection (1) of this section... who fails to report pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to the penalty” of a misdemeanor.

Compelled speech is anathema to individual liberty in all cases, but, on balance, HB 455 would reduce the number of people who are subject to such a mandate. 


Analyst’s Note: This rating was updated to reflect amendments made to this bill on 02/28.

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