Legislature approves child abuse reporting bill

OLYMPIA — The Washington state Legislature has approved a bill sparked by the sex abuse scandal at Penn State University.

The measure, passed on an 84-12 vote Thursday in the House, requires officials at higher education institutions to report suspected child abuse to authorities or to state’s social services agency. The Senate unanimously passed the measure last month, and it now goes to Gov. Chris Gregoire for her signature.

The Penn State case led to the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno, who had passed along information about suspected abuse to superiors but never notified police.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, of Seattle, sponsored the measure. She says the law will help ensure the safety of children.

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