Senate won’t bypass public vetting process to pass emergency sexual abuse bill, says Majority Leader

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward issued a statement Monday saying that the General Assembly of Pennsylvania will not bypass the public vetting process to pass an emergency amendment in regards to a proposed childhood sexual abuse bill.

The Wolf Administration failed to advertise the bill before the 2020 general election. The Department of State is constitutionally required to advertise the wording of a proposed constitutional amendment in two newspapers in every county of the state, which the administration did not do. Former Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar took responsibility for the incident and resigned after the news was shared.

The proposed amendment, which is in response to the child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, first passed the legislature as House Bill 963 in November 2019. The bill must now be reset and begin the entire process over.

Majority Leader Ward’s entire statement:

“The Pennsylvania Senate agrees that all victims of childhood sexual abuse should have the ability to face their abusers. Last session, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a constitutional amendment to address the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse. The Wolf Administration dropped the ball and failed to initiate the public review process, which gives public notice by clearly explaining the ballot question. As a result, they are now asking the Pennsylvania General Assembly to elevate this matter to emergency status to include on the May primary ballot. After careful consideration, it has been determined by the majority that this matter does not meet the emergency status criteria and does not correct the failure by the Wolf Administration as it still does not properly vet this matter with the public. In fact, elevating this matter to emergency status further by-passes the public vetting process denying Pennsylvanians proper consideration of the proposed amendment. More importantly, the strongest legal position to bring closure to this matter and allow all victims (public and private) of childhood sexual abuse to face their abusers is via constitutional amendment. The dereliction of duty by the Wolf administration has forced the Pennsylvania Senate to reset the clock on the constitutional amendment. The Pennsylvania Senate will act in the same manner as it has previously and in accordance with the Commonwealth’s constitution and will seek to pass another constitutional amendment.”

Full statement on proposed childhood sex abuse amendment from Majority Leader Kim Ward

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