Saturday, July 13, 2013
Does USA Swimming & the Catholic church have sinister or benevolent interests in killing California Senate Bill 131?
Here is some history behind California Senate Bill 131, and when you know the history of this legislation suddenly the motives become clear as to why USA Swimming and the Catholic Church wants this bill amended or more accurately "crucified and buried."
It's my opinion that USA Swimming, the Catholic church and their lobbying firms are using a lobbying strategy that claims they want SB 131 to be a tougher bill but really they want to add an amendment so tax dependent and expensive that the bill can NEVER pass.
To condense the purpose of SB 131 into one sentence: "... This legislation would provide a one-year revival window from 2014-14 for certain victims who were previously barred [due to a legislative error] the right to seek justice for the abuse they suffered as children. ..." [Link]
USA Swimming and the Catholic church argue that SB 131 does not go far enough, that the child abuse offenders should be jailed as well as sued. Now, that sounds commendable and noteworthy however this bill was never meant to be a child protection bill - It was meant to correct an error in a previous bill from 2002 known as SB 1779 which accidentally barred certain adults from filing lawsuits against the Catholic church. This bill would fix that error and that is the sole purpose SB 131. Once again this is a bill to correct a mistake that segregated certain victims from seeking civil justice.
The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault which supports SB 131 and explains it as follows:
"... In 2002, SB 1779 ...opened a one year window commencing on January 1, 2003 for those whose claims had been previously barred, to bring their claim. However, due to a California Supreme Court decision (Quarry v. Doe), one group of victims was not able to avail themselves of either the one year window or the amended statute of limitations. For those victims, who in 2003 were over the age of 26 and had not yet made a causal connection between their adult injuries and their childhood sexual abuse, there was no time period within which they could bring a claim. SB 131 would revive a one year retroactive window that captures these Quarry-type victims, so they can have their day in court and seek justice against their abusers.
Let me "land this plane" and summarize my opinion as to why both USA Swimming and the Catholic church are using non-candid or disingenuous reasons.
What is not stated or broadly known about California politics is that California has a severe incarceration problem. Read as overcrowding and health costs. It's cost between $52,000-and-$82,000 per adult or child to "cage" an individual per year. California jails are overcrowded and the legislature doesn't like it.
The costs of jailing people is prohibitive. So with a clever angle to stall this bill in the appropriations committee both organizations are going to try to get the concept of "incarceration costs" into this bill which as stated above would get it killed.
Both organizations have no problem with victims that were accidentally excluded from seeking justice. So, by making SB 131 an incarceration bill, both organizations can lament in public when it goes down in flames that the poor, poor victims got no justice but they will toast in private with donor sponsored Champagne that many victims were denied the right to sue.
So, when USA Swimming increases member fees, perhaps the money is going to lobbyists?