HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania State House’s state of paralysis continues as Speaker Mark Rozzi locked lawmakers out of the house chamber amidst conflict on how to proceed with the session.
Rozzi, who kicked off his listening tour in Pittsburgh on the evening of Jan. 25, was moved by what he heard but made news with what he said.
“The purpose of this tour is to hear from you, the people,” said Rozzi.
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Many people spoke on various subjects, including gun violence, the gift bill, and Pennsylvania’s closed Primary Elections. However, one statement hit home for Rozzi.
“Why are child sex abuse survivors always being used as a political beachball,” said Shaun Dougherty, a survivor of childhood sexual assault.
In response, the mostly-silent speaker of the house spoke on an amendment that would let survivors of childhood sexual assault sue their abusers past the statute of limitations.
“I will keep the doors of the house locked until we have a fair agreement to get that through,” Rozzi said.
Republican leader Bryan Cutler objected, sending a letter to Rizzo calling the locked-door policy improper.
In the letter, Cutler said, “Our House belongs to the people of Pennsylvania, not to any one member or members.”
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Rozzi’s listening tour is moving on to Philadelphia on Friday, Jan. 27, but he wants lawmakers to listen to him, insisting that the amendment needs to move by itself, not bundled with other issues.
“My first priority as speaker, and I have made it clear, is to get victims of childhood sexual assault, children who have been raped, justice,” Rozzi said.
Republicans and critics say Rozzi shouldn’t be listening in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but rather working in the state house.