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Proposed constitutional amendment on sex abuse lawsuits fails in close House vote

Ivory on House floor
Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 19:48:42-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed constitutional amendment to overrule a controversial Utah Supreme Court ruling failed on a close vote in the House of Representatives.

House Joint Resolution 4, sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, would have allowed civil lawsuits over childhood sexual abuse to be applied retroactively. The resolution failed on a 48-25 vote because House rules call for 50 votes on a proposed amendment.

It previously won a unanimous vote in a House committee.

The resolution was run in response to the Utah Supreme Court's ruling in a lawsuit brought by a woman who sued a now-retired federal judge, accusing him of sexually abusing her as a teenage witness in the high-profile murder trial of a serial killer. The state's top court ruled the law, which allows sex abuse victims to sue in civil court, could not be applied retroactively.

The resolution may not be entirely dead. If Rep. Ivory can convince his colleagues to reconsider it, he can get another vote in the House of Representatives. He can also bring it back next year.