Lawmakers in Harrisburg are at an impasse that’s stopping debate on a proposed constitutional amendment to retroactively extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse during a special session called by Governor Tom Wolf.
After being in recess for about seven hours last night, word came down that the Pennsylvania House would not meet again indefinitely as both parties can’t come to any agreement on the rules to proceed, this after the Senate spent the past two days focused on other items, including moving forward with other amendments related to elections and regulatory reform.
“This special session is meant to provide a mechanism to help prevent this bipartisan issue from becoming entangled with partisan topics, Answer the call you signed up for as elected officials and public servants.”
Shaun Dougherty, A Johnstown native who is now President of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, is among those stressing the need to act fast to open up a 2-year window for victims of childhood sex abuse.
“We’re talking about child rape, How this bill is sitting there is beyond me.”
But with both chambers not discussing a path forward for a constitutional amendment to help them, the long, agonizing wait continues as lawmakers practice political posturing.
While the Senate is moving on to other business, the House is silent one week after the promise of bipartisanship in the house. The veil of good feelings has vanished in the lower chamber with both parties far apart on coming up with the rules to govern and Republicans, led by Blair County Rep. Jim Gregory, thawing on their agreement to allow Democrat Rep. Mark Rozzi to become speaker over his failure to become a registered independent.
But with time of the essence for survivors, there is growing concern that the focus won’t go where advocates say it needs to be.
“Every time I come to this building, I say there’s nothing that’s going to shock me this time,” Dougherty said. “And yet, within an hour of being in this building, I’m shocked every time.”
Rozzi said he is creating a workgroup of three Republicans and three Democrats to sit down and find a way forward. But he has not commented on Gregory’s call for him to resign.