A Third Sex Abuse Bill Is Moving Through Arizona Legislature Without Victim Input
A third sexual abuse bill may bypass two prior bills currently trapped in Republican committees.
On Monday, House lawmakers in the Rules Committee voted on House Bill 2746, approving changes to the statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse, but the Republican leadership would not allow victims and their advocates to weigh in before the panel voted.
Chairman Rep. Anthony Ker (R-Glendale) claimed there was no reason to hear their stories.
Attorney and Rep. Domingo DeGrazia (D-Tucson) said he believed the relatively new HB 2746 is constitutionally flawed.
"I have to wonder, where did this age come from," he said before his colleagues. "Was it plucked from the ether? Is it predicated upon some data, some statements from psychologists, from counselors, from therapists, that know what the age is upon which folks who have been abused will come forward?"
House Speaker Rusty Bowers authored the bill and countered that, aside from taking the age to report from 20 to 30, his bill allows victims to file a civil suit after 30 if prosecutors bring criminal charges against the perpetrator. And he said there isn't a requirement for a conviction.
Rep. T.J. Shope (R-Coolidge) has urged supporters to get behind HB 2746 because it is the only sex abuse bill currently moving through the legislature.
"If the Legislature adjourns this session without passing this bill and having it signed, it will be a huge setback to every victim in the state of Arizona,'' he said.
Democrats, and several Republicans, are holding out for two separate bills, Senate Bill 1255 and Senate Bill 1101, which allow victims wider latitude in filing sex abuse civil claims. Both of those bills sit tabled without scheduled hearings in Republican held committees.