Window for lawsuits by survivors of child sex abuse moves closer to the ballot

The Tribune-Democrat

January 28, 2021

By John Finnerty

The state House on Wednesday voted 187-15 to ask voters whether to amend the Constitution to give adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse an additional two years beyond the normal statute of limitations to sue institutions such as the Catholic Church that have covered up such abuse.

The measure moves back to the Senate. If it passes there, it could be on the ballot in May. The state Senate Judiciary Committee has already approved a companion version of the legislation that passed the House on Wednesday. Both chambers approved the proposed amendment last legislative session as well. Proposed state constitutional amendments must be approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions.

It is one of several potential amendments that could end up on the ballot in May. Both chambers of the General Assembly this week also voted in favor of proposals to amend the Constitution to limit the ability of the governor to keep prolonged emergency declarations in place, a move inspired by frustration over Gov. Tom Wolf’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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