Bill to lengthen statute of limitations on child sexual abuse passes House

A bill that would extend the statute of limitations on taking civil action for child sexual abuse passed the House floor with broad bipartisan support Friday. HB 302 passed 61 to 4. Currently, a victim of childhood sexual abuse must bring a claim to civil court before the victim’s 24th birthday or within three years of disclosing the abuse to a health provider. Bill co-sponsor Rep. Marian Matthews, D-Albuquerque, said that this bill would open that up. The bill would not change the 24th birthday limitation but would expand the three-year period when a victim first becomes aware of the abuse and understands that they were harmed by it.

Bill to change civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse passes House committee

A House panel unanimously approved legislation that makes changes to the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases. House Bill 302 — legislation meant to allow more time to file lawsuits against sexual abusers when the perpetrator was in a position of authority over children — will now move on to the full House floor. A survivor of childhood sexual assault currently has three years after disclosing the incident to a health care provider to file a lawsuit. The legislation would change that and instead grant three years after the survivor “knew or had reason to know” that he or she was abused. Bill co-sponsor Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, said the legislation is meant to clear up a 2017 change to the law that inadvertently may have made it harder to stop systemic issues of childhood sexual assault.

Rep. Marian Matthews, D-Albuquerque, is the bill’s co-sponsor.

Shifting, filling legislative spots before session starts

A legislative appointment from the Bernalillo County Commission Tuesday marked the last vacancy to be filled before the upcoming legislative session. County commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Democrat Marian Matthews to fill a vacant spot left by Democrat Rep. William Pratt after he died last month. 

Matthews, a former prosecutor and college educator, announced late last year that she planned to run for Pratt’s seat since Pratt announced he would not run for election. Pratt himself was appointed to the seat after former Rep. Larry Larrañaga died in 2018. Pratt then won the general election that November. Matthews told commissioners she would like to address Albuquerque’s crime rate. 

The special meeting was the first for newly appointed commissioner James Collie, a Democrat who was sworn in just before the meeting started.