There Pa. House is paralyzed, time for a sexual abuse change is running out

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The clock is ticking, and survivors of childhood sexual abuse are watching as a constitutional amendment they’ve been pushing for should pass the State House by the end of this week for the May vote.

But the House is not yet organized and not in session, so what will happen with the amendment?

“I’m here for the victims. I’m not here for anyone else today,” said Representative Jim Gregory (R-Blair County).

Gregory, a state assemblyman and childhood sexual assault survivor, testified with photos and memories.

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“It happened between those two garages when I was pushed against the wall on the right,” Gregory said.

House Bill 14, which would allow survivors of past abuse to sue their abusers beyond the statute of limitations, came from Gregory.

Gregory had until the age of 30 to open up about his childhood abuse.

“In my case, the abuse happened when I was 10 and I started speaking out about it at the age of 48 under very difficult circumstances,” Gregory added.

House Bill 14 passed and was supposed to become law, but it was bureaucratically botched and barred from voting after the Senate bundled it with two other amendments in Senate Bill 1 and passed it.

“Please allow House Bill 14 to appear alone on the ballot,” Gregory said.

Gregory doesn’t trust Senate Bill 1 and says survivors detest it.

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“No. No. It has to be done so that the victims don’t feel like they’ve been hit in the stomach again,” Gregory said.

But it seems another blow is coming.

To make the vote in May, House Bill 14 must pass the House by the end of this week. But will it?

“Unfortunately, I think that’s very unlikely. We’re ready to work, we’d like to vote on this issue, and I wish we could attend a meeting,” GOP leader representative Bryan Cutler (R) said.

Newly elected Speaker of the House Mark Rozzi begins a hearing session this week but does not appear to be anywhere near the start of the legislative session.

House Democrats support the hearing session, but said in a statement, “When our leaders tried to negotiate House Rules and work in special sessions to help survivors of child sex abuse, Republicans refused.”

“Months ago, I resigned myself to the fact that it won’t be in the May election. There are only so many things I can control,” Gregory concluded. “It has been an emotionally draining experience for me over the past few days.”

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So far, the stalemate in the State House is unprecedented. What is not unprecedented, however, is that Republicans blame Democrats and Democrats blame Republicans; That happens all the time. There Pa. House is paralyzed, time for a sexual abuse change is running out

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