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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 15, 2020 04:48 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Constitutional Amendment Regarding the Statute of Limitations and Childhood Sexual Abuse
Ever since the release of the attorney general’s shocking report on abuse within the Catholic Church, there has been vigorous debate over remedies for the abused and how best to provide them access to justice.  The central point of contention was whether legislation could provide an unassailable solution.
In October of 2019, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an extensive public hearing to air all the issues and attempt to find a legally viable consensus on an equitable and sustainable approach.
The conclusion we reached is an amendment to the state Constitution is required.  A proposal by state Representative Jim Gregory, a victim of childhood abuse, gained first round approval in the recently concluded 2019-2020 legislative session.  The two-year window reflects the recommendation of the Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report and aligns with analysis provided by the victim advocate and others.
If an identical measure is passed in the upcoming session, it will then go to the voters as a ballot question for their approval.
We are aware that many victims and advocates were disappointed by the time required to amend the Constitution.  While there was a lot of support for various legislative approaches, we were presented with too much expert opinion counseling that anything short of a constitutional amendment would not have favorable prospects for surviving the inevitable court challenge.
I will be introducing the identical language to accomplish the goal of second round approval and invite you to become a cosponsor.  We owe it to the victims of horrific abuse to make sure that the opportunity to gain a measure of justice is not further delayed or tragically denied.

Introduced as SB8