SB 131 Vetoed!
SACRAMENTO, October 13, 2013 --California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 131, an unjust bill that would have reopened the statute of limitations for filing sexual abuse law suits for just the Catholic Church and other private employers. Public schools and other government programs are exempt. Despite bi-partisan opposition, the trial lawyers who were driving this bill with a great deal of political manipulation, were just barely able to get it out of the legislature and to the Governor's desk. California bishops have thanked the Governor for his veto. We are also grateful for the thousands of people who contacted the Governor to request the veto.
SB 131 (Beall, D-San Jose) is a controversial measure that would temporarily eliminate the civil statute of limitations for a select minority of child abuse victims - but prevent the overwhelming majority of victims from ever getting their day in court. It barely passed the Senate and Assembly.
The bill says one thing and does another. It says it helps victims and protects children when in reality it does nothing for most victims, nothing to most abusers and makes a mockery of equal protection under the law.
- SB 131 will prevent most of today’s victims from ever getting their day in court. Victims who were abused by teachers or other public school workers are not covered by the bill. Public schools cannot be sued for any abuse that took place before 2009.
- SB 131 protects the actual abuser from being sued. The change in statute of limitations only applies to private or non-profit employers like the YMCA or the Church. It does not apply to public schools, other public agencies or even to the perpetrator.
- SB 131 only applies to private and non-profit employers - like private schools, the Catholic Church, the YMCA, Little League and other, similar organizations.
- SB 131 does nothing to increase criminal penalties against the actual abuser. The bill increases penalties on private employers, but not on the perpetrator himself. SB 131 proposes no increase in prison time, and more importantly, no increase in the criminal statute of limitations that would let victims get the justice they deserve.
The California legislature already passed a similar measure 10 years ago which eliminated the statute of limitation for a one year window (2003) resulting in lawsuits against private and Catholic employers – some of which dated back more than 50 years. SB 131 would restart that process again.
Please write or call Governor Brown to thank him for his veto of SB 131.
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160