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Youngkin Signs Legislation on Child Exploitation, Missing Child Alerts and Sentencing Guidelines

Governor Glenn Youngkin has signed Legislation (SB 731, HB 1427, and SB 201) to protect children from exploitation, increase penalties on child predators and ensure rapid response for missing or endangered children.

“As a father of four children, I know that protecting our children is a parent’s highest priority. By signing these pieces of legislation today we continue to make progress to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. I am proud to sign these bills that protect our children and hold those who commit atrocities against children accountable,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

“There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our children,” said First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin. “I am proud of the steps our legislature has taken to ensure our most precious Virginians are kept safe and secure.”

“This legislation brings our child pornography code into the 21st century by closing a loophole that criminals have been able to exploit using digital technology and artificial intelligence. On July 1 we will be able to more clearly prosecute these heinous criminal acts. I’m so grateful to the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Spotsylvania County for bringing this important issue to my attention,” said Senator Tara Durant.

“We want to make sure that we have additional resources put in place to reunited kids and their families as quickly as possible. The CODI alert is a tool that can be deployed to help find children who may have gotten lost or are known not to be in immediate danger. The success of the Amber alert demonstrates that early intervention is key. This new alert will be a valuable tool for law enforcement and parents,” said Senator Danny Diggs.

“All of these bills will have a measurable impact on the safety of our kids, HB1427 directly works to ensure that those convicted of heinous crimes against children will not be able to so easily reoffend,” said Delegate Michael Webert.

“As a delegate, I take great pride in carrying HB1388, the Critical Operation for a Disappeared Child Initiative (CODI) Alert Program. This legislation marks a pivotal stride in protecting endangered children, especially our Black and Brown youth, who have historically been overlooked by the stringent criteria of the AMBER Alert system. Collaborating bipartisanly with my colleagues, we’ve prioritized the safety of all children in our Commonwealth. Through our strong partnerships with community leaders and local law enforcement, we’ve constructed a robust framework for this program, fueled by the solemn vow that no family should endure the heartache experienced by the Bigsby family in the search for little Codi,”said Delegate Bonita Anthony.

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