HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The State House is expected to pass a bill that would give survivors of childhood sexual abuse the ability to sue their perpetrators beyond the statute of limitations.
It’s called House Bill 1, but it isn’t the first attempt to let survivors of child sex abuse sue beyond their statute of limitations.
“Victims have waited long enough. The gamesmanship, the playing politics has got to stop,” said Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks County).
Rozzi, who was abused by a priest as a boy, is the creator of House Bill 1, which would open a two-year window for survivors to bring suit. However, House Bill 1 doesn’t exactly match Senate Bill 1, which combines voter ID and regulatory amendments to the sex abuse amendment.
Senate majority leader Joe Pittman said his chamber is done dealing with it.
“We were very consistent and clear on the priorities that embodied Senate Bill 1. Three distinct and independent constitutional questions that should go before the voters. The house would be best served if they would pass Senate Bill 1, as we presented it to them,” Pittman said.
“Are they playing games with victims here? Yes, they are. And people of this commonwealth need to call them out and say, pass this bill for victims, get it done,” Rozzi added.
Both chambers previously passed the amendment twice, but the Wolf administration failed to properly advertise it, so it was yanked and put back on the drawing board.
Jim Gregory, who is also a survivor of sexual abuse, says the wait has been too long and the want is too great for the Senate to try and tie other priorities to it.
“We still have big hurdles. There’s folks that don’t want to see it passed,” said Gregory. “We want victims to have this opportunity. But we want it so bad that it’s being used against us to get the other two things.”
To get to the ballot, the Senate needs to pass the house version, which is said it won’t, or the House needs to pass the Senate version, which it hasn’t so far.
“Senate majority leader Joe Pittman, Senate President Pro Temp Kim Ward. Three words. Do your job,” Rozzi said.
Gregory and survivors note that this will be the first time in Pennsylvania history that a constitutional amendment has passed four times. Typically, once an amendment passes twice, it’s done.