STATEMENT: PA Senate Hijacks Justice for Sexual Abuse Survivors With Passage of Constitutional Amendments Package

Marc Stier |

In passing SB 1, the Pennsylvania Senate has hijacked the issue of providing relief to victims of sexual abuse to pass other constitutional amendments. It used a noncontroversial, bipartisan proposal to help pass controversial and partisan amendments that are bad policy and the subject of litigation.

The proposal to provide a window for sexual abuse survivors to sue their abusers is an important step toward justice. We strongly support it.

The other amendments do not serve the people of Pennsylvania but the political goals of one party.

One of the partisan amendments would require voters to submit a government-issued ID every time they vote, even mandating that they provide copies of their IDs along with their mail ballots. We know that requiring a government-issued ID would make it impossible for some people to vote. This would disproportionately affect seniors and Black voters. Requiring voters to include a copy of their government-issued ID with their mail ballot would also dissuade voters from voting by mail because of the risk of identity theft. This, too, would limit the number of voters in the state.

The other partisan amendment would enable the General Assembly to overturn regulations promulgated by executive departments and regulatory agencies by majority vote on a concurrent resolution. Government regulations protect workers from earning low wages and suffering dangerous working conditions; they protect children from dangerous conditions in day cares and schools; they protect the sick and injured from receiving inadequate or dangerous care by doctors and hospitals; they ensure that businesses do not discriminate in their hiring and encourage businesses to recruit diverse employees; they ensure that monopolies, like utility companies, do not overcharge their customers; and they protect our air and water from pollution and dangerous, climate-changing greenhouse gases. The current constitutional process works well and gives the General Assembly many avenues to influence our regulations. The proposed amendment violates the principles of the separation of powers and is a step toward creating an imperial General Assembly that runs roughshod over the executive and judicial branches of government.