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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

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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