On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, one of CCASA’s priority bills to eliminate the civil statute of limitations for sexual misconduct, SB21-073, passed the Senate with 33 “yes” votes, zero “no” votes, and with two excused. The Senate passage of this bill comes after 25 survivors and experts testified to the Senate Health and Human Services committee on February 24, 2021 and robust discussion during the second reading on March 1, 2021.
During the bill’s committee hearing, the committee chair, Senator Rhonda Fields, presided over a hearing that included the verbal testimonies of more than a dozen individuals, both in-person at the Capitol and virtually. These testimonies included that of survivors who bravely detailed their childhood sexual abuse by educators, religious leaders, and other trusted adults and the stories of those assaulted as adults. The survivors who testified were doing so completely altruistically. The elimination of statute of limitations will only apply to civil claims made after January 1, 2022. But these survivors know the impact this legislation could have on their fellow survivors who deserve time to heal before seeking civil action. Senate Bill 73 passed the Health and Human Services Committee on a unanimous, 7-0 vote.
The second reading of Senate Bill 73, which occurred in front of the entire Senate, was held on March 1, 2021. During the proceedings, Senator Bob Gardner introduced a motion to send the bill to the judiciary committee instead of proceeding with the second reading. Upon a vote, that motion failed. Senator Gardner then introduced Amendment L-002, which, if accepted, would’ve extended the statute of limitations instead of eliminating it. The amendment failed. Then Amendment L-004 was introduced, also by Senator Gardner, which would’ve eliminated the derivative claim fix in Senate Bill 73. Amendment L-004 failed, as well. Senate Bill 73 was adopted with no amendments.
On March 2, 2021, the Senate convened and held a vote for the passage of Senate Bill 73. The bill passed and is on its way to the Colorado House of Representatives, where the bill will be sponsored by Representative Soper and Representative Michaelson Jenet.
For more updates on policy affecting sexually assault in Colorado, keep checking in with CCASA’s Policy Updates.