Rozzi spearheads five legislative measures to deliver justice for childhood sexual abuse survivors
HARRISBURG, March 1 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, today introduced two additional pieces of legislation that would reform Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse victims.
His legislation would open a two-year window during which victims could file civil lawsuits against their abusers, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
Rozzi’s bills, introduced today during regular session, H.B. 1 and H.B. 2, have the same goals as their special-session companion bills passed last week. H.B. 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would reform the state’s statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse survivors. If adopted, the amendment would open a retroactive two-year window for victims to pursue legal action against abusers and those who aided in covering up their abuse. Through its constitutional amendment route, H.B. 1 would ultimately require approval of Pennsylvania voters. If the Senate passes this bill, it could be on the ballot for the November 2023 election. Rozzi initially introduced this amendment nearly two years ago with Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Blair/Huntingdon.
H.B. 2 aims to achieve the same goal, but instead go through the typical legislative process. For the two-year window to open, it would need to pass the Senate and then be signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro.
“We just passed Special Session House Bills 1 and 2 that aim to open a two-year window where childhood sexual abuse victims could finally get their justice. While that was a huge victory for the House, it doesn’t mean that the Senate will finish the work. In order for these special-session bills to pass, the Senate would also need to call their own special session,” Rozzi said. “There is too much at stake to rely on this as victims’ only chance for justice.”
Rozzi added that today the newly formed House Judiciary Committee met to move these two regular-session bills, and to remove language in S.B. 1 not related to changing Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for childhood survivors of sexual assault.
All committee votes on the matter were met by party lines.
The committee will also hold a public hearing on the window to justice for survivors of sex abuse at 10 a.m. Monday in the Majority Caucus Room in the Capitol.
“There are five pieces of legislation that aim to deliver justice to survivors. Three can be accomplished through regular session, two through special session. There is no excuse as to why we can’t get this done. The only thing the Senate needs to do is its job,” Rozzi said. “I’m pursuing every option possible to put an end to the excuses that have denied survivors justice time and time again.”