Following the State Assembly’s narrow passage Sept. 4 of Senate Bill 131, which would retroactively eliminate the civil statute of limitations against private employers in claims involving childhood sexual abuse, the California Catholic Conference is urging people to express their opposition by contacting Gov. Jerry Brown’s office, where the bill is headed. The governor has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto the bill. If he does neither, it becomes law without his signature. Legislators are unlikely to override a veto of SB 131, given that it passed with narrow majorities in both the 80-member Assembly (42-14) on Sept. 4 and the 40-member Senate (21-8, 10 abstentions, one vacancy) on Sept. 6, according to Carol Hogan, CCC’s director for pastoral projects and communications.The CCC and other opponents, including the YMCA, Boy Scouts and various private schools groups, maintain that the bill does not allow accusers to sue public institutions, and thus does not treat all victims of sexual abuse equally. The CCC also has expressed concern that the lawsuits resulting from the legislation could be financially devastating for the Catholic Church’s educational, health and social outreach services that serve the entire population, because many of those facilities would need to be sold in order to fund settlement costs.“Nobody questions victims’ rights for justice,” said Hogan. “This is a piece of bad public policy where lawsuits are not aimed against the perpetrator but private employers” going back decades.“Anybody with a modicum of common sense knows that’s unrealistic,” added Hogan, noting that in some cases private employer administrators are long deceased. “How do you defend yourself from acts done 50 years ago?”“We hope Gov. Brown sees the wisdom of our arguments,” said Hogan. She noted that SB 131 “squeaked by” in the Assembly and Senate. Further, she asserted that its passage would be a boon to trial lawyers, who earned approximately half of the $1.2 billion in recent child abuse claim settlements. SB 131 by Sen. Jim Beall would take effect Jan. 1, 2014. Also headed to the governor for his signature or veto is Assembly Bill 154, that would legalize nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants, who have taken an eight-week course, to provide first trimester abortions, and it would reclassify that procedure of the abortion by aspiration (vacuum) as non-surgical.The CCC and numerous pro-life groups are among those opposed to the measure, noting that the author’s (Assemblymember Toni Atkins) and sponsor’s (Planned Parenthood) primary argument for the need for the bill was “access.”“There is actually is no ‘problem’ of access,” the CCC noted on its website. “Although 22 percent of California counties have no abortion provider, only one percent of the state’s women live in those counties. In addition, in June and July of 2013, volunteers called abortion facilities all over the state and were offered appointments the same day or in a few cases, within a week.”To contact Gov. Brown’s office, call (916) 445-2841 or fax (916) 558-3160. For information on contacting legislators, visit http://www.capwiz.com/cacatholic/issues/alert/?alertid=62719011.