Wednesday, December 18, 2013MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania has its first new laws in the Pennsylvania Legislature's wide-ranging response to the Jerry Sandusky and Roman Catholic clergy scandals.
Gov. Tom Corbett made the bills official during a Wednesday signing ceremony at the Pennsylvania Child Resource Center outside Harrisburg.
"These new laws are helping to transform our commonwealth into a state with several of the stiffest penalties for child abuse in the nation," Corbett said. "Enacting stronger child protection laws is one of those important moments when we come together and stand up for those who have suffered in silence and ensure that justice is served."
Lawmakers have approved a half-dozen bills that update nearly 20-year-old state laws on how cases of suspected child abuse are defined, investigated and punished.
About 20 bills are part of the legislative package.
One of the new laws expands the definition of who investigators can consider a potential perpetrator of child abuse. Another addresses a longstanding complaint of child welfare advocates by lowering the threshold for the kind of injury or pain that is considered child abuse.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.