House passes bill to change statute of limitations
By Lauren Handley
We Are Central PA
April 12, 2016
A bill to change the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of child sex crimes is now headed to the Senate, but it didn't pass without some challenges.
Some lawmakers said they thought it would be an easy vote. Instead, a motion to postpone the vote was brought before the House. That's where tensions began to rise.
Representative after representative stood to support or oppose the motion.
"The reason I rise in support of this motion is that I'm getting some messages back home as to the constitutionality question on this amendment," said representative Cris Dush, (R), of Indiana and Jefferson counties.
"I think it's clear," said representative Bryan Barbin, (D), of Cambria and Somerset counties. "I ask for a 'no' vote on the motion to postpone."
Representative Mark Rozzi, (D), of Berks county - a victim himself of child sexual abuse - has been pushing for this bill to pass the House. When the motion to postpone was brought, Rozzi made a plea to fellow lawmakers.
"I have struggled every day of my life," Rozzi said. "All I want is justice. I want justice for all of my friends who have been sexually abused."
The bill raises the statute of limitations age from 30 to 50 years old in civil cases. The House approved Rozzi's amendment to make the bill retroactive Monday afternoon. He and other lawmakers said it would finally allow for justice for victims of past abuse, like those in the Altoona-Johsntown Catholic Diocese.
"If it can be a defensive coordinator at Penn State, it can be the pitch man at Subway, it can be the person who baptized your son or daughter," said representative Frank Burns, (D), of Cambria county. "It's everywhere and we have to address the problem, and this is a great first step."
"From all the victims of Pennsylvania, we say thank you," Rozzi said, concluding comments before the vote.
The bill passed 180 to 15. It will now move on to the Senate Judiciary Committee.