Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today signed two bills designed to protect West Virginia children.
"I am especially appreciative of the individuals who joined me today because they brought to light the need to address, what I believe are, two critical ways we can protect our children," Gov. Tomblin said.
Joined by legislators, Senator Dan Foster, Dr. Robert Rupp of West Virginia Wesleyan College, and leaders of Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia and the American Heart Association, the two bills signed establish new medical testing rules and child abuse and neglect reporting requirements.
Senate bill 161 requires all adults--from youth camp counselors to photo print processors--to alert the police if they suspect a child is being abused or neglected within 48 hours of suspicion.
House bill 4327 requires West Virginia birthing centers to perform a pulse oximetry screening within hours of a child's birth. Prior to discharge from a hospital, this test is performed on newborns in order to screen for seven congenital heart defects that often go undetected. These defects, if left untreated, can cause disabilities or even death.
"When it comes to protecting our children and ensuring their safety, every moment is critical," Gov. Tomblin said. "I am happy to sign these two bills into law mandating that we, together, take quick, decisive, life-saving actions for our children. I can think of no greater cause."