2:07 PM EST, February 2, 2011
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Virginia Senate has advanced a bill extending the amount of time sex abuse victims have to file lawsuits despite arguments that it could make it more difficult for the accused to defend against decades-old claims.
On a voice vote Wednesday, the Senate moved the bill to a recorded vote that could come Thursday.
The vote came after a lengthy floor debate on extending the time to file a lawsuit from two years to 20 years. The time begins when a child turns 18 or, in the case of repressed memories, from when they realize they were abused.
Opponents say extending the time would hurt defendants, churches and nonprofits who are sued. Supporters say those who abuse children should not benefit from a short time limit.
The House has passed a similar bill extending the time to eight years.