EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Deeds Supports Child Protection Bill

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RICHMOND (WRIC)—Senator Creigh Deeds
spoke exclusively to ABC 8 News about a bill he says could save thousands of
children.

“There are
children being exploited today whose exploitation we could prevent if we just
had the resources,” he said.

The senator
says he's worried the bill could die in the House of Delegates.

Reporter Mark
Tenia has requested interviews with Sen. Deeds before the General Assembly
session started, to discuss his
mental health initiative
, but his office respectfully declined each time.
Deeds agreed to speak to ABC 8 News on Feb. 27, but only about the bill he says
will protect kids, hoping his voice will help get it passed.

Sen. Deeds has
introduced a measure to help inject $1 million toward fighting sexual predators
and rescuing children across the state.

“Life is
precious; children are precious, and we have to do everything we can to protect
them,” Deeds said. “Over 4 million individual transactions have occurred where
people have viewed child pornography in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Deeds says the
problem is just growing. Protect, a nonprofit aimed at protecting children from
abuse, sent a video to ABC 8 News that shows the worst offenders known to law
enforcement in the past year across the state. Deeds says Virginia's only two
task forced to fight crimes against children have been extremely effective.

“We effectively
save thousands of kids,” he said.

The bill would
not use taxpayer money; instead, funding would come from increased court fees
for convicted criminals. Deeds' bill unanimously passed in the Senate, but has
stalled in the House.

“Right now the
bill is not being heard,” he said. “It's just kind of stuck in a logjam … I've
not gotten a satisfactory answer.”

Deeds says he's
speaking out now, in hopes it will at least get a vote.

“We can protect
more kids if we can just get the legislation advanced through the House of
Delegates to the Senate,” he said.

Tenia tried to
find out why the bill has had trouble in the house so far; it currently sits in
the House Appropriations Committee, where it has not been scheduled for a vote.
ABC 8 News reached out to the Del. Chris Jones, the chair of appropriations,
asking for an explanation, but we haven't gotten a response. Two weeks ago, we
also reached out to Del. Scott Lingamfelter, who chairs the committee that
killed the house version of the bill. No response has been received.

 

Copyright 2014 by Young
Broadcasting of Richmond

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