A bill named for a Union County toddler, who police say was severely beaten at the hands of her stepfather, may soon head to President Obama's desk thanks to a new co-sponsor.
WBTV has confirmed that Senator Kay Hagan will co-sponsor the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act. Republican Senator Richard Burr, from North Carolina, has sponsored the bill in the Senate. He has been searching for a Democratic co-sponsor, and on Tuesday, Hagan told WBTV why she agreed to co-sponsor the bill.
Davenport was nearly beaten to death in 2012 and received injuries that forced doctors to remove a part of her skull and left the young girl with brain damage. She was just three-years-old at the time.
Kilah's stepfather, 22-year-old Joshua Houser, was arrested and charged with felony child abuse.
Davenport's beating spurred a new North Carolina law, Kilah's Law, aimed at giving tougher penalties for convicted child abusers. It became law in December.
The new law will increase the maximum penalty for the most serious abuse charges from roughly 15 years to 33 years.
The bill that was presented in Congress, also known as H.R. 3627, was introduced by Rep. Robert Pittenger on December 2.
This bill passed in the House on December 9 and went to the Senate for consideration. It was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.
"As a mother, I was incredibly saddened by what happened to Kilah Davenport, an innocent child, and I'm co-sponsoring Kilah's Law to help prevent future similar tragedies that no family should have to endure," Senator Hagan said in a statement to WBTV. "I will keep Kilah and her family in my thoughts and prayers as they continue to struggle."
Davenport was rushed to the hospital with an unknown respiratory illness on Sunday.
Kilah had a tracheotomy after she was reportedly beaten, and been breathing through tracheostomy tube. She has been breathing on her own for a while now.
WBTV has learned that since being admitted to the hospital on Sunday, Kilah is awake and alert while doctors run test to figure out what is happening.
If the bill passes the Senate it will head to the White House to become law.