Faith-healing bill advances to Idaho Senate

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) Legislation that would tweak Idaho's laws allowing families to cite religious reasons for medical decisions without fear of being charged with neglect or abuse is headed to the Idaho Senate.

The proposal would amend only Idaho's civil laws to make it easier for judges to get involved in faith-healing cases. The bill does not change the state's religious exemption regarding criminal charges, which is considered the most contentious part of the religious waiver.

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis says there is currently not enough support in the Idaho Legislature to make a more aggressive change.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 5-4 on the proposal on Monday.

Focus on the exemption has exploded recently Idaho as more attention has been placed on the deaths of children among members of the Followers of Christ based in southwestern Idaho from treatable conditions, including pneumonia and food poisoning.

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