JACKSON, Mississippi — Making a false report of child abuse could become a crime in Mississippi.
The state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would set a penalty of up to $5,000 and a year in jail for anyone convicted of intentionally and maliciously reporting to authorities that a child had been abused or neglected.
Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall says that during custody disputes, people sometimes falsely accuse a former spouse or former boyfriend or girlfriend of child abuse.
Fillingane, who's an attorney, says social workers are already overworked and underpaid, and they shouldn't have to spend time investigating bogus claims. He says he doesn't think setting penalties will discourage legitimate reporting of abuse.
Senate Bill 2047 (http://bit.ly/16lbMf9 ) will move to the House for more debate.