In Sacramento on September 6, 2013, the state legislature passed a sex abuse bill, according to the Los Angeles Times article by Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason, "Legislature passes sex abuse bill." Or see, "California Assembly passes bill to allow childhood-sex-abuse lawsuits" and "Assembly passes bill to allow sex-abuse lawsuits." On the other hand there's opposition to the new bill that now allows childhood sex abuse lawsuite. See the Yahoo! News article, "Catholic Church fights California sex abuse bill."
Other measures sent to the governor would stiffen penalties against paparazzi who harass celebrities' children, and stop USC from getting control of the California Science Center parking lots. State lawmakers on Friday sent the governor a bill that would give some child-abuse victims more time to sue employers whose workers are molesters.
The sex-abuse bill is opposed by the Catholic Church
The sex-abuse bill, which is opposed by the Catholic Church, says the Los Angeles Times, would allow some child-abuse victims more time to file lawsuits against private and nonprofit institutions, such as the Boy Scouts and parochial schools, but would not apply to public schools. Some victims for whom the statute of limitations has expired would get a new, one-year window during which they could bring a lawsuit. See the article, "Church opposes bill allowing sex abuse victims more time to sue."
Is the state of California waging a war against the Catholic church? Senate Bill 131 changes the statute of limitations only for 2014, giving victims of sexual abuse a 1-year window to sue, regardless of when the molestation happened. In 2002, a similar law was written, opening a 1-year window in 2003 allowing abuse victims of any age to sue, regardless of the statute of limitations. During the 2003 window, the Catholic church paid $1.2 billion in settlements.
There were problems with that law and the California Supreme Court ruled some victims couldn't sue. But Senate Bill 131 fixes those problems regarding age limit of someone who wants to sue. But the issue of the bill is that it doesn't apply to public schools, explains the article, "Church opposes bill allowing sex abuse victims more time to sue." The issue is why does the bill only apply to private organizations and not to public schools or public organizations? Consumers worry about why the age of the person suing matters, if the person isn't able to disclose the event until well into adulthood and not only in his or her twenties.
Should there be an age limit on when someone first discloses abuse and wants to sue the parties responsible? Would it matter whether someone was age 24 or 26 when suing for childhood sex abuse by an adult that happened decades before the person came forward with the disclosure?
Opponents argue the 2013 bill only allows victims to sue private organizations, like the Catholic church, the YMCA and others. That's because under state law, public entities, like schools and district-run day cares, cannot be sued. Most people would be concerned about what happens when decades after the abuse happened, an adult family member finally discloses the abuse to find closure. Others in similar situations wait until adulthood to disclose the facts about abuse by a family member because as a child the individual might have thought no one would believe the disclosure.
Some legislators objected that the bill would apply to private schools but not public schools and would not impose more criminal penalties
Is the bill too narrow? Regarding another bill, the anti-paparazzi bill, by Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), would make it a misdemeanor to attempt to photograph or videotape a child in a harassing manner if the image is being taken because the child's parent is a celebrity or public official. That bill would raise the penalty for such harassment from as many as six months in jail and a possible $1,000 fine to potentially one year in jail and a possible fine of $10,000.
What worries media people is that if you take a picture of a public event such as a food festival where children are present, do you need a release from everyone in the photo, even if there are dozens of people or more, including parents and children or anyone else enjoying a public event such as a concert, food festival, graduation, folk dance public presentation, shopping in stores, or at various ethnic celebrations?
Someone would have to judge whether photos were innocent, appropriate, and not taken in a harassing manner. An example would be a paparazzi trying to photograph a celebrity's child in a public place such as eating in a restaurant, riding with others in a vehicle, or at the park or beach or in school. Would the photographer need a signed release if a photo of a celebrity's baby was snapped? And what happens when a famous person physically batters a photographer trying to take a picture in public of a family outing? Who sues who, if privacy is interrupted by a media person happens? Would paparazzi need an appointment with a star to take a picture? And who pays who -- the star or the photographer for posing?
And there were more bills to be dealt with in Sacramento. For example, another measure sent to the governor would limit the ability of law enforcement to shut down cell phone service in public locations. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles) introduced SB 380 in response to a 2011 incident in which the Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency shutdown mobile services for three hours during public protests.
There also was a bill by Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Los Angeles) that would prohibit the California Science Center from delegating to University of Southern California the power to operate the center's parking lots at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The bill sent to Brown also would bar the center from selling the parking lots, the Coliseum and the Los Angeles Sports Arena without legislative approval. There's also a lease that grants USC control over the publicly owned Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and nearly all of its revenue for the next century. Which bills do you think will pass the state legislature this year? And which bills would you like to see get into the legislature that aren't in there now?