Governor Tom Vilsack fears a bill that cleared the Senate last night will make criminals of young teens who have sex. The bill initially sought to add clergy to the list of folks who are required by law to report suspicions of child abuse. But an add-on would require those so-called “mandatory reporters” to tell the police when they discover that kids who are 13, 14 or 15 are engaged in sexual activity. Bill backers say it’s an effort to crack down on adults who prey on youngsters, but Vilsack fears it’ll send kids to jail for getting into a heavy make-out session or having sex. Vilsack has asked a law firm to independently review the bill and tell him if those conclusions are accurate. Vilsack says a nonpartisan analysis predicted that over the next five years as many as 800 people could be imprisoned if the proposal is made law. Vilsack says if that’s true, the state would have to build a whole new prison just to incarcerate people found guilty of engaging in some sort of sex act with a 13, 14 or 15 year old.
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