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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey lawmakers have begun hearing testimony on legislation to loosen restrictions on when childhood sexual abuse victims can seek damages in court.

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The Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee is considering the legislation Thursday in a packed hearing room near the statehouse.

The legislation would allow child victims to sue up until they turn 55 or within seven years of their first realization that the abuse caused them harm. The current limit is two years. Adult victims also would have seven years from the discovery of the abuse.

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The bill also would give a two-year window to victims who were previously barred by the statute of limitations.

Legislation to modify New Jersey’s laws has been on lawmakers’ radar for nearly a decade.

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Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.