Legislative briefs: Definition of child abuse expands - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Legislative briefs: Definition of child abuse expands

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Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2008 10:24 pm | Updated: 9:24 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

On a voice vote the House on Thursday gave preliminary approval to altering state laws on child abuse.

HB2704 would expand the definition of abuse to include allowing a child to enter or remain in a building where there are toxic or volatile chemicals or where dangerous drugs are being manufactured.

This is aimed largely at people who turn their homes into laboratories to produce methamphetamine.

The measure, which still needs a final roll-call vote, also would expand the definition of neglect to include prenatal exposure to dangerous drugs, deliberate exposure of a child to sexual conduct or fetal alcohol syndrome in any child up to 1 year old.

Parental bill of rights stalls

The state Senate fell one vote short Thursday of approving what was billed as a parental bill of rights.

Most lawmakers had no problem with provisions in SB1392 which spelled out that parents have the right to control a child's education, moral and religious training and health care decisions.

It also would require parents' consent before immunizations, mental health screening or biometic scans.

But Rep. Tom O'Halleran, R-Sedona, said it also would forbid government entities from videotaping children without parental consent, something she said could even prevent schools from taping a basketball game or play for their records.

House wants Iran holdings out of fund

Without dissent the House gave preliminary approval Thursday to a requirement for the state's retirement systems to divest their portfolios of any investments in certain companies doing business in Iran.

HB2151 is aimed at companies that have invested at least $20 million in any one year in petroleum development in that country.

Rep. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, said those oil incomes help the Iranian government manufacture improvised explosive devices which are smuggled into Iraq and used by militias to kill and maim U.S. soldiers.

Paton acknowledged there are constitutional requirements which require the state's investment fund managers to make purchases and sales solely based on getting the maximum financial return for the state and public school employees and retirees.

But he said he believes the measure, which goes to the Senate after a final House vote, would withstand legal challenges.

Crime video makers could be sued

The House agreed Thursday to open the door to civil lawsuits against people who produce videos with obscene or "dangerous" content.

Rep. Warde Nichols, R-Gilbert, said HB2660 is aimed at people who produce and distribute videos which depict rape or other crimes.

He said there are people who see those videos, mostly available on the Internet, and then go out and commit crimes.

This measure would allow those crime victims to sue those involved with the video if the defendant knew, should have known or recklessly disregarded a significant risk that the material would encourage or result in another person committing a felony.

Plaintiffs also would have to show the material was a cause in that felony.

A final roll-call vote will send the measure to the Senate.

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