February 25. 2015 2:25AM
House Bill 2527 also known as Merryn’s Law passed with a unanimous vote on Feb. 18.
The bill would create the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children and is named after a survivor of child sex abuse, Erin Merryn. The task force would consist of, among many others, senators and delegates who serve on their respective Eduction and Health and Human Resources Committees along with a survivor of child sexual abuse who would be appointed by the governor.
According the bill, the task force would, “…make recommendations for decreasing incidence of sexual abuse of children in West Virginia. In making those recommendations, the task force shall gather information regarding sexual abuse of children throughout the state, receive related reports and testimony from individuals, state and local agencies, community-based organizations, and other public and private organizations, create goals for state education policy (and for areas of policy) that would prevent sexual abuse of children and submit a report with its recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature.”
The task force would also development recommendations to help increase cooperation between state agencies, local governments, schools and communities.
“Our children are our most valuable asset. They are our future. Protecting our children from harm is and will continue to be one of our highest priorities,” stated Del. Amanda Padson (R-Monongalia) Chairperson of the House Education Committee stated and lead sponsor of the bill.
Other sponsors of the bill include Del. Justin Marcum (D-Mingo), Del. Kayla Kessinger (R-Fayette), Del. Rupert Phillips Jr. (D-Logan), Del. Jill Upson (R-Jefferson) and Linda Goode Phillips (D-Wyoming).