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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

WA lawmakers again consider erasing statute of limitations on sex abuse cases

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Monday, February 5, 2024   

Washington state lawmakers are considering eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases again this session.

House Bill 1618 would revise the current three-year limitation from the discovery of child sexual abuse injuries for filing claims for damages in civil suits.

Darrell Cochran, an attorney in Tacoma and former president of the Washington State Association for Justice, said abuse destroys people's lives and it can be years or decades before they are in a position to figure what happened and why it happened.

"There's an organization which made me susceptible to being sexually abused that I need to hold accountable, so I'm going to bring a lawsuit," Cochran explained. "We know that's all going to happen, and we want to make sure that they don't run into motions to throw their case out on a statute of limitations sometime in the future."

A similar bill was introduced last year. However, after a fiscal note from the Attorney General's office said it could cost organizations such as school districts or churches large sums, it stalled. This year's bill was modified so it would only apply to cases arising in the future.

Cochran hopes to see a future bill to allow for the retroactive elimination of the statute of limitations. He argued it would address a public health concern.

"The public health threat, endangerment and injury is every bit as vast or much worse when we're talking about child sexual abuse as when we're talking about something like salmonella or hepatitis," Cochran pointed out.

The bill passed the House and is currently in the Senate. The legislative session is scheduled to end March 7.

Disclosure: The Washington State Association for Justice contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Consumer Issues, Housing/Homelessness, and Human Rights/Racial Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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