By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A committee of the Pennsylvania House has approved a package of bills to update the state’s child abuse laws.

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal (see related stories), lawmakers in Harrisburg have been working for months on an overhaul of Pennsylvania’s child abuse laws.

Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks County) is the sponsor of one the bills that got committee approval, a measure providing a definition of child abuse.

“I believe that this is the most important issue that is going on in this capitol,” he said today.

Last week, the state Senate passed and sent to the House a pair of bills dealing with child abuse.

“We will be passing, I’m sure, bills back and forth,” says Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks County), chair of the House Children and Youth Committee.  “Our goal is to get this package of bills through the House and to the Senate for them to look at.”

Watson says she expects the House and Senate to work over the summer to come up with a comprehensive package of child abuse legislation that can be addressed in the fall.

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