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Children would be able to hold their stuffed animal or favorite blanket while giving testimony in court under a bill that’s on its way to the governor’s desk. KSMU’s Matt Evans reports.
Republican State Representative Bob Dixon of Springfield has been pushing this bill for the last three years. Just this week, lawmakers sent the measure to Governor Jay Nixon’s desk. The Child Witness Protection Act has six parts that are supposed to make witnesses 17 years of age and younger more comfortable while testifying in court.
"It's a real victory for children, it's a great day for justice that the legislature has sent this to the governor," said Dixon.
Dixon says he sponsored the bill after several community organizations in Springfield expressed concern about the large numbers of child abuse cases in the area. Often in these cases, children are asked to provide testimony on sensitive matters. The measure is supposed to reduce the stress on children who are on the witness stand. For the bill to become law, Governor Nixon must sign it before July 14th. Dixon says he doesn’t see any reason why the governor wouldn’t sign the bill.
"Since it was passed so overwhelmingly by the legislature , I would be surprised if he didn't sign it," said Dixon.
Dixon says this bill enjoyed broad, bi-partisan support from lawmakers.For KSMU News, I’m Matt Evans.