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Competing Idaho Faith Healing Laws Could Get Public Hearing

Lucas Polsson
Flickr Creative Commons

Two bills related to faith healing were introduced at the Statehouse Wednesday. The Chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee, Jeff Siddoway, said he’ll probably schedule a full public hearing for one or both of the competing measures.

The first proposal comes from a member of a faith healing sect, Dan Sevy. His proposed legislation would mandate judges consider other forms of treatment beyond traditional medical care when ordering a child be treated in cases of neglect. The Spokesman Review reports while testifying before the committee, Sevy told lawmakers his proposal asks for legal recognition of other kinds of treatment.

The other proposal that could get a hearing comes from Senator Dan Johnson. The Lewiston Republican's legislation would tweak civil provisions in Idaho's faith healing laws, but leave in place the exemption from criminal prosecution for parents whose children are seriously injured or die.

Both bills sailed smoothly through committee.

Idaho and Virginia are the only states with faith healing exemptions in a variety of neglect and abuse laws as well as manslaughter laws.

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