So, the House Judiciary Committee, in an unusual move, took many elements of Wilson’s bill and tacked them Saturday onto an unrelated bill from Sen. Justin Ready — a Carroll County Republican who is one of the senators who voted against the abuse lawsuit bill in committee.
The House amendments to the bill would extend the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit resulting from child sexual abuse from the current limit of age 38 to 58. It also would create a two-year “lookback” window that would allow people to file lawsuits who had previously had been barred from doing so due to the age limits.
The House adopted the amendments and moved the revised measure forward to a final vote on Monday — the final day of the 90-day General Assembly session. Any changes to the bill would need to be approved by the Senate in order to send the measure to the governor.
Wilson, a Charles County delegate, said there’s a good chance the amendments don’t survive in the end.
But he thinks the effort sends an important message. He thanked Democratic Del. David Moon for crafting the amendments and Democratic Del. Luke Clippinger, the committee chairman, and Democratic Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, the committee vice chairwoman, for supporting the amendments.
“I don’t have my hopes up, but they are doubling down on the message that they care,” Wilson said.
“It’s not my fight, it’s the House’s priority. You can’t ask more than that,” Wilson said.
Ready called the maneuver a “poison pill” aimed at defeating his legislation.
“It is pretty unprecedented and it’s wrong,” Ready said. “’Laura and Reid’s Law’ deserves to pass on its merits. Women who are pregnant are too often beaten and killed by abusers and they deserved to be punished to the full extent of the law.”
Ready was among five senators who voted against Wilson’s bill in the Judicial Proceedings Committee, citing questions about its constitutionality.