A bill in the South Dakota legislature that appears intended to give several dozen Native American childhood-sexual-abuse plaintiffs their day in court may do just the opposite.
SB 130’s final sentence slams the door and locks it, according to attorney Michael Shubeck, of the Law Offices of Gregory Yates, in Rapid City; he and Yates have Native clients whose cases were terminated under the 2010 law.
Shubeck noted that in a kind of circular logic, this part of the bill says that if a legislative action (like the 2010 law) killed valid cases, SB 130 would revive them. Barbara Charbonneau-Dahlen read SB 130’s draft language and was also concerned.
It's also been embraced in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. Department of Justice has rated the program as “promising,” meaning evidence exists that it reduces crime, although more studies are needed.
Thirteen states are operating pilot programs, and four others are planning pilots. In addition, the 2015 federal highway bill provides grants to states that implement 24/7, giving the program parity with ignition interlocks, which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.“For years, we were telling people that we were going to make them quit drinking driving,” said Larry Long, about the 24/7 program that he designed and implemented when he was South Dakota's attorney general.
However, others claim the new proposal makes matters worse by reinstating the statute of limitations in effect “on the date the abuse occurred,” according to the bill’s language.