Gov. Phil Bryant has chosen to veto a bill that would require Child Protection Services to notify any applicable military installation family advocacy program of child abuse in certain cases.
The Governor says SB 2460 is well intentioned, but adds an unintended consequence:
“Senate Bill 2460 is a well-intentioned bill with an unintended consequence. Reporting the abuse of children or vulnerable adults in care facilities to appropriate officials is worthy of legislation. However, requiring the name, address, and telephone number of those who report abuse could adversely affect reporting. When I weigh the effects of the bill, including reports of child abuse involving active duty military personnel, and considering the language providing for the redaction of the identity information at the close of cases versus the potential of unreported abuse, I must err on the side of protecting children and the vulnerable.
Miss. Code Ann. §43-21- 353, as it currently exists, keeps confidential the identity of the reporter of abuse and neglect except when the court determines that the testimony of the reporter is material to prosecute the case. Further, Miss. Code Ann. §43-47- 7, provides that any person, who intentionally makes a false report of abuse and neglect of a vulnerable person may be civilly liable. Miss Code Ann. §97-35- 47 imposes a criminal penalty for false reporting of a crime.
Reporting child abuse saves lives, and I will not approve measures that may hinder reporting. I encourage every Mississippian to promptly report child abuse and protect our most vulnerable in care facilities.”