House advances Roby’s expanded anti-child exploitation bill

An amended and expanded bill bolstering federal protections for children sponsored by U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) received U.S. House approval on Sept. 25.

Formerly known as the Preventing Child Exploitation Act of 2018, the amended H.R. 6847 is now titled the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2018, which includes four other bills previously passed by the House.

“My bill to fight the abuse and exploitation of children and strengthen protections for them under the law passed the House,” Rep. Roby tweeted on Sept. 26. “Legal protections for children & the punishments for those who harm them must be as strong as possible. I hope the Senate takes up this measure soon.”

H.R. 6847, introduced on Sept. 20 by Rep. Roby and cosponsor U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), would amend United States Code to expand and strengthen federal sex offense laws and would reauthorize certain programs established by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, among other provisions, according to the draft text of the bill.

H.R. 6847 also combines four House-approved bills: the Strengthening Children’s Safety Act, H.R. 1842; the Global Child Protection Act, H.R. 1862; the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act, H.R. 1761; and the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act, H.R. 1188.

Among numerous provisions, H.R. 6847 would toughen federal laws by expanding the definitions of both illicit sexual conduct and federal sex offense; enhancing penalties against sex offenders who fail to register as sex offenders, as required by federal law; and lengthening the list of punishable crimes considered as sexual exploitation of minors, according to the bill’s text.

“It is our responsibility here in Congress to provide the strongest, most effective tools available to confront, fight, punish, and ultimately prevent horrific crimes against children,” Rep. Roby said on Tuesday from the House floor, where she managed debate of H.R. 6847 prior to the chamber’s vote.

The U.S. Senate received H.R. 6847 on Sept. 26 and referred the bill for consideration to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Our children are perhaps the greatest and most precious responsibility given to us,” the congresswoman added. “They are vulnerable, innocent and wholly dependent upon us to protect them. Because of this, both our legal protections for children and the punishments for those who do them harm must be as strong as possible.”