A proposal to end the statue of limitations on first- and second-degree rape unanimously passed the Washington House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The House voted 98-0 to send House Bill 1657 to the Senate, where it will first be considered by the judicial committee.
Current state law requires victims who were abused as children to report the sexual abuse by their 28th birthday.
“This legislation says that we won’t allow sexual predators to live their lives free of justice while their victims pay a life sentence,” bill sponsor Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, said in a prepared statement.
Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin recounted her own sexual abuse as a child while testifying in favor of the bill earlier this month.
“The victims who testified on this legislation told us it took them a very long time to heal from the crimes against them, to cope and recover from the mind control,” Ahern said. “We must not remove their ability to accuse their abusers simply because they’ve reached a certain age.”
Idaho lifted the statute of limitations on all child sex crimes in 2006.