by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
This weekend is the deadline for California Governor Jerry Brown either to sign SB 131, to allow it to go into law without his signature, or to veto it.
To review, SB 131, scheduled to take effect January 1, 2014, would open up civil lawsuits in a sliver of sexual abuse cases from a decade ago. These are currently barred by the statute of limitations.
The legislation last month passed both the State Assembly and the Senate and was sent to Brown. The smart money then was that the governor, who studied in seminary in his young adulthood and hence is reticent to oppose the Catholic Church, would allow the bill to go into law without his signature, under a procedural wrinkle in California executive-legislature relations.
But this morning we got new intelligence from Sacramento sources that Brown is leaning toward vetoing the bill. If he does, he’ll probably make the announcement either late today or over the holiday weekend, in a classic news-burying “dump.”
We think child protection advocates, who so brilliantly fought off the Church’s and USA Swimming’s expensive lobbying and got the bill passed, have dropped the ball by not persistently and more publicly pressuring the governor during this end game. Characteristically, state newspaper editorial pages also have been out to lunch on this issue.
Now we’re down to hours — if the die isn’t already cast.