(March 7) – A bill to expand the list of people required to report child abuse passed the House today by a vote of 47 to 15.
SB13-012, sponsored in the House by Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), will expand the list of mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect to include directors, coaches and trainers in private sports programs. Eleven other states have similar laws on the books. Public and private school officials and employees, including athletic program personnel, are currently required to report suspected child abuse in Colorado, but many children today participate in private sports organization activities not administered by the schools.
“Protecting our children is a number one priority,” Rep. Singer said. “Kids in sports spend a lot of time with these coaches and trainers and if there is suspected child abuse, it is their duty to do what they can to prevent any further harm to a child.”
The need for this bill has been recently highlighted in cases that have garnered the national spotlight, such as the Jerry Sandusky case.
More than half of the Republican caucus opposed the bill. Those members included Reps. Perry Buck, Don Coram, Brian Delgrosso, Justin Everett, Bob Gardner, Cheri Gerou, Chris Holbert, Janek Joshi, Lois Landgraf, Dan Nordberg, Lori Saine, Jerry Sonnenberg, Spencer Swalm, Jim Wilson and Jared Wright.
“I didn’t expect the opposition to this bill and don’t understand it,” Rep. Singer said. “We should be standing up for our children above all else, and that’s what this bill does.”