Pa. voters may vote to expand child sexual abuse victims’ rights in May

Written by on January 28, 2021

 Pa. voters may vote to expand child sexual abuse victims’ rights in May

By Sam Dunklau / WITF

January 28, 2021

Pennsylvania voters could decide on expanding the rights of child sexual abuse victims as early as the May Primary as one of several proposed constitutional amendments the state House of Representatives has approved.

Listen to the story.

State Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) got several rounds of applause as the chamber approved something he’s worked on for years: giving victims of childhood sexual abuse another two years to sue abusers after the statute of limitations has expired.

A Catholic priest at the church Rozzi attended as a child abused him there.

“This is an easy vote,” Rozzi says, “Victims deserve their day in court. Victims have waited long enough.”

Another proposed amendment drew criticism: it would limit the governor’s future emergency declarations to 21 days. The House approved that too, but state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) summed up the opposition.

“We still have an emergency declaration because we’re still in a pandemic. The pandemic is not over because you’re done with it,” Kenyatta says.

Supporters say the legislature should be given wider latitude to extend state disasters.

Both proposals need Senate approval before they can appear on the ballot in the May Primary. The governor’s approval is not required for constitutional changes.

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