Pennsylvania commission serves to strengthen laws protecting kids

    In the wake of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University, Pennsylvania lawmakers are creating a bipartisan commission to strengthen and create new laws to protect children.  The state Senate GOP spokesman says he expects resolution creating the joint task force to be considered and approved next week. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are bringing attention to the various bills they’ve proposed or will propose to make kids safer.Berk County Sen. Judy Schwank says her caucus also wants a thorough review of institutional boards.  “Many of us hope to see legislative hearings into the operation responsibility and accountability of the boards of colleges and universities to make sure that appropriate standards are spelled out in the future in the law,” she said.  Penn State’s Board of Trustees came under intense scrutiny after the ouster of school president Graham Spanier and football coach Joe Paterno after abuse charges were filed against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.  Lawmakers in all four caucuses say the case lends urgency to the parade of proposals aiming to, among other things, change the state’s abuse reporting requirements and create a Child’s Ombudsman who would investigate abuse complaints.

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