PNS Daily Newscast - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspends his campaign for president. And COVID-19 is ravaging the black community in some areas, including Milwaukee.

2020Talks - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drops out of the race for president, though he assured supporters yesterday his movement will continue. A federal judge ruled this week a lawsuit in Florida awaiting trial will apply to all people with former felony convictions, not just the 17 plaintiffs.

Child Advocates: Proposed State Laws Threaten Kids’ Well-Being

February 18, 2008

Charleston, WV – Children's advocates and faith groups say two proposals before state lawmakers this week could have a shocking impact -- raising the chances of child abuse and neglect. One bill would require a 50-50 custody split between parents in divorce cases, with limited exceptions; the other would create stiff penalties for false allegations of child abuse and neglect.

But Jim McKay, with the group Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia, says laws are already on the books against false civil and criminal reports.

"We're concerned that, by passing legislation that enacts increased penalties for false reports, even more people will be reluctant to report their suspicions to Child Protective Services and have them investigated."

Supporters argue the additional law is needed to deter false accusations of abuse. McKay points to studies that show underreporting of child abuse has been a greater issue than false reporting. He adds that changes to the law could also make anonymous abuse reports more likely, which are much harder to investigate.

Last week, the United Methodist Church's "Justice and Advocacy Ministry" voiced its opposition to the 50-50 custody bill. The Reverend Luana Cook Scott of Huntingdon notes every family situation is different, but the proposed law creates a "one-size-fits-all" standard.

"Any bill that does not allow specific situations in family dynamics to be heard is inappropriate, and is detrimental to the welfare of the child."

Backers of the law believe men are discriminated against in the current child custody system, and that both parents should play a role in their children's lives. Reverend Cook Scott says while it's important not to discriminate against men or women in custody cases, the primary goal of custody laws should be the well-being of children.

Rob Ferrett/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WV