Senator Hill Places Senate Bill 360 on Hold

July 09, 2019

For Immediate Release – Office of State Senator Jerry Hill – Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Senator Hill Places Senate Bill 360 on Hold

SACRAMENTO – State Senator Jerry Hill has decided to place on hold his legislation that requires clergy of all faiths to report knowledge of child abuse or neglect, even if such information is learned during penitential communications with other clergy members and coworkers.

Clergy members are already among 46 categories of professionals, from physicians and teachers to social workers, who are required by law to report knowledge of child abuse and neglect. However, the law allows knowledge of child abuse and neglect to go unreported if clergy members learn of such crimes during penitential communications.

As originally introduced in February, SB 360 would have removed that exemption. Senate committee amendments made in May changed the proposed requirement for disclosure of alleged child abuse and neglect surfacing in certain penitential communications. SB 360 now requires clergy members to report information about such crimes gained during penitential communications, only if those conversations involve other clergy members or other coworkers.

The Senate passed SB 360 with a 30-4 vote, but as the next hearing on the bill approached, Senator Hill became aware that the legislation would not have enough support to move on. He chose instead to ask the Assembly Public Safety Committee not to conduct the hearing on the bill that was scheduled for today. The request was made and granted on Monday.

“Senate Bill 360 has one purpose only, not to restrict faith, but to ensure the protection of the most vulnerable of the faithful: children,” Senator Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, said today. “This issue remains important to me, and I will continue to champion it in the hope that my colleagues can come together on legislation. I strongly believe that for any institution self-policing and self-investigation are not effective ways to combat alleged abuse, as our own state Legislature has found. To be clear, I have placed SB 360 on hold. The bill is on pause, it has not been withdrawn.”

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Media Contact: Leslie Guevarra, 415-298-3404, leslie.guevarra@sen.ca.gov