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Sex abuse bills on front burner as PA. lawmakers return

“I’m ready to sign these bills. I want Pennsylvania to continue to lead the nation in supporting victims.”

September 23, 2018 - 11:51 pm
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) -- Pennsylvania lawmakers return from a nearly three month-long summer break Monday, and the heat will be on as they once again as they grapple with a wide array of bills to support and protect victims.

Front and center will be legislation sought by victims of child sexual abuse, following a devastating grand jury report on clergy sex abuse released last month.

In a conference call with reporters, Governor Wolf issued a call to action to lawmakers.

“I’m ready to sign these bills,” he said. “I want Pennsylvania to continue to lead the nation in supporting victims.”

The House is expected to take up a key proposal to create a two-year window of “retroactivity” to give victims of child sexual abuse a new opportunity to sue, even if the statute of limitations has expired for them.

The Senate has balked at retroactivity, citing the state constitution.

Jenn Kocher, a spokeswoman for the Senate Republican majority leader, says in the past the Senate has resisted proposals for unlimited retroactivity.

“A two-year window has never been voted on before,” she said. “It’s never been voted on in the Senate, and it’s never been voted on in the House.”

Kocher says there’s no way to predict what may happen this time.