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By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Gov. Phil Bryant has signed into a law a bill that prosecutors say bridges the gap between legal and medical definitions of child abuse and takes a stair-step approach to penalizing violators.

House Bill 1259 takes effect July 1.

Supporters say the bill also ties the criminal act with the injury suffered by the child to reach an appropriate legal punishment. The bill revises the definition of felonious child abuse to prohibit certain acts against a child.

Bryant says in a statement Tuesday that the bill will make those who abuse children accountable for their actions.

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