With House paralyzed, time for the sexual assault adjustment is running out

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (WHTM) — The clock is ticking, and survivors of child sexual abuse are watching the constitutional amendment they’ve been pushing must pass the state assembly by this weekend to hold a May ballot.

But the house is not organized yet and has not been convened, so what will happen to the amendment?

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

Gregory, a state attorney and childhood sexual abuse survivor, testified with photos and memories.

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

House Bill 14, which would allow survivors of past abuse to prosecute abusers beyond the statute of limitations, is Gregory’s bill.

Gregory had until the age of 30 to come forward about his childhood abuse.

Gregory added, “In my case, the abuse happened at 10, and I first started talking about it, under very difficult circumstances, at 48.”

The House passed Bill 14 and it should become law, but it failed bureaucratically and left the vote after the Senate combined two more amendments, into Senate Bill 1, and passed it.

“Please allow the House of Representatives to appear on the ballot on its own,” said Gregory.

Gregory doesn’t trust Bill #1 in the Senate and says the survivors hate him.

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“No. No, it has to be done that way so the victims don’t feel like they’ve been punched in the gut again,” Gregory said.

But it looks like another punch is coming.

To hold the May ballot, House 14 needs House approval by the end of this week. But is that?

“I think it’s very unlikely, unfortunately. We’re willing to get to work, we’d like a vote on this issue, and I hope we’re in session,” said Brian Cutler, the GOP leader’s representative.

Newly elected Speaker of the House Mark Rousey begins a hearing this week but does not appear to be close to starting the legislative session.

The House members support the hearing, but said in a statement: “When our leaders sought to negotiate House rules and work in special session to help child sexual abuse survivors, Republicans refused.”

“I was resigned to the fact that he wouldn’t be on the May ballot months ago. There are so many things I can only control,” Gregory concluded. “This has been an emotionally stressful experience for me the past several days.”

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So far, the stalemate in the State Palace is unprecedented. But what is unprecedented is the Republicans blaming the Democrats, and the Democrats blaming the Republicans. It happens all the time.