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Youngkin signs legislation designed to protect children, strengthen child predator penalties | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin addresses a crowd at a ceremony at which he signed new legislation to protect children and toughen penalties for child predators. (Courtesy Virginia Governor’s Office)

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed legislation on designed to protect children from exploitation while increasing penalties on child predators. The new legislation also is designed to build upon the Amber Alert system for missing and endangered children in the state.

“By signing these pieces of legislation today we continue to make progress to ensure the safety and well-being of our children,” said Youngkin, after signing Senate Bill 731, House Bill 1427, and Senate Bill 201. “I am proud to sign these bills that protect our children and hold those who commit atrocities against children accountable.”

HB1388 introduces the Critical Operation for a Disappeared Child Initiative (CODI) Alert Program, which is designed to protect endangered children who historically have been overlooked by the stringent criteria of the AMBER Alert System. The program removes the criteria of the suspicion of abduction, which is a requirement of the AMBER Alert System.

The new program is named for Codi Bigsby, a four-year-old boy from Hampton whose father was convicted this year of his murder.

“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.

HB1427 is designed to ensure that anyone convicted of serious crimes against children will not be able to reoffend, and SB731 closes a child pornography loophole that criminals have been able to exploit using digital technology and artificial intelligence.

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