On Monday, December 9, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 3627, the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced by Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) on December 2, 2013 and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.
H.R. 3627 requires the Attorney General, 180 days after the bill’s enactment, and 3 years thereafter, to publish and submit a report to Congress on the penalties for violations of laws prohibiting child abuse in each of the 50 states, D.C., and each territory of the United States, including whether they provide enhanced penalties when the victim has suffered serious bodily injury, or permanent or protracted loss or impairment of any mental or emotional function.
Moreover, this legislation amends 18 U.S.C. § 117, which deals with Domestic assault by “habitual offenders” in areas where the federal government has increased responsibility, i.e. in Indian Country, and the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, to allow prior convictions for assault, sexual abuse, or violent felonies against children of, or in the care of, an offender to be used as prior convictions that trigger this offense. Under 18 U.S.C. § 117, habitual offenders receive an enhanced mandatory prison sentence of “not more than five years”, except if “substantial bodily injury results from violation,” which results in offenders receiving a mandatory prison sentence of “not more than ten years.”
 As defined by U.S. Code, “habitual offenders” are persons who have received at least 2 prior final convictions.
 See Legal Information Institute, 18 U.S.C. § 117 – Domestic Assault by an Habitual Offender, Cornell University Law School, http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/117.
On May 16, 2012, three year-old Kilah Davenport was severely injured and underwent emergency surgery as a result of serious physical abuse from her stepfather. Though Kilah survived, she suffered serious brain damage. Her stepfather was charged with felony child abuse. However, due to laws in North Carolina, he would have faced less than eight years in prison. As a result, North Carolina passed legislation to increase mandatory minimum sentences for future felony child abusers.
The current legislation in the House would require a report to be submitted to Congress addressing the penalties for child abuse in each state in order to evaluate sentencing standards throughout the United States.
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3627 would have no significant cost to the federal government. Enacting the bill could affect direct spending and revenues, but CBO estimates that any effects would be insignificant.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.