"The law should apply equally to all professionals who have been designated as mandated reporters of these crimes - with no exceptions, period. The exemption for clergy only protects the abuser and places children at further risk," Hill said.
A spokesman for the California Catholic Conference told local media that the bill clearly targeted essential religious freedoms.
"Getting the government in the confessional has nothing to do with protecting children and has everything to do with eroding the basic rights and liberties we have as Americans," said Steve Pehanich in a statement for the conference reported by local news outlets.
The California bill is not the first attempt to compel priests to violate the sacramental seal. A Royal Commission investigation into child sexual abuse in Australia last year recommended that legal exemptions be removed for clergy who learned about abuse in the confessional.