- Associated Press - Saturday, May 6, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - In New York state government news, victims of childhood sexual crimes petition lawmakers to let them sue abusers even if the statute of limitations has run out and child welfare advocates seek a ban on toys containing toxic materials.

The two proposals are among dozens of bills competing for attention as lawmakers begin the final six weeks of their annual legislative session.

A look at what’s coming up this week in Albany:



New York state now has one of the nation’s tightest statute of limitations on filing criminal charges and lawsuits for past molestation.

The proposal before lawmakers would eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations for several child sexual abuse crimes and create a one-year window for past victims to file civil suits.

Victims now have until they turn 23 to sue, but supporters say it can take years before victims feel comfortable stepping forward to report their abuse.

The measure has been around for years in Albany, where it faces significant opposition from the Catholic Church and other institutions. They argue it could cause catastrophic financial harm to any institution that works with children. Abuse victims say that’s no justification for depriving thousands of victims an opportunity for justice.

Several victims of childhood abuse and supportive lawmakers plan to meet Tuesday at the Capitol to lobby for the bill.



Another bill that has languished in Albany would restrict the use of potentially toxic chemicals in toys.

Environmental groups and child welfare advocates say the legislation would reduce childhood exposure to chemicals like benzene, mercury and cobalt. The bill would require toy manufacturers to gradually eliminate the use of chemicals deemed harmful, such as benzene, mercury and cobalt.

Many toy makers oppose the measure, noting that they already must abide by federal regulations and that state-based rules would create a confusing patchwork.

The bill has passed the Assembly but so far has not gone up for a vote in the Senate.



Nurses want lawmakers to set minimum staffing requirements to address what they say is a significant understaffing problem at hospitals.

The nurses will kick off the effort to pass the legislation on Tuesday at the Capitol.

They note that nurses have filed thousands of formal protests alleging understaffing at hospitals around the state.

But hospital executives say the requirement would add billions of dollars to health care costs that would be passed on to patients and undermine their flexibility to set their own staffing levels by imposing top-down requirements.

The proposal has been debated in the Legislature for years. It has bipartisan support but its outlook this year is unknown.

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