Harrisburg, PA − March 23, 2021 − State Senator Katie Muth (D – Chester, Montgomery, Berks) expressed utter disappointment and frustration following the failure of the Majority Party of the Pennsylvania Senate to pass a statutory two-year civil window for survivors of childhood sexual assault with expired claims. The language, offered in amendments by Senator Muth, failed along party lines.
“The Majority Party of this chamber has, once again, turned their backs on survivors,” said Senator Muth. “Our laws should protect people from harm, not protect predators who cause harm. This is beyond unacceptable and a direct insult to all survivors throughout our Commonwealth.”
House Bill 14, as amended in the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 16th, sought to establish an emergency constitutional amendment to provide justice for survivors of sexual abuse following a clerical error by the Pennsylvania Department of State. Senate Republicans recently blocked this effort by using an extremely narrow interpretation of the Pennsylvania Constitution that limits emergency amendments to weather-related events. Senator Muth’s amendment would have improved this bill to establish a statutory process for survivors which was once supported by Majority Party members back in the Fall of 2018.
“The fact that the Majority Party continues to directly block any meaningful effort for justice is simply wrong and a failure to serve the public.” Senator Muth continued, “I was sent to Harrisburg to fight for the rights of all Pennsylvanians and, today, I witnessed members of the Majority Party deploy roadblock after roadblock to prevent survivors from their rightful pathway to justice and healing. Survivors throughout the Commonwealth deserve better.”
Senator Muth’s amendment was based on policy previously enacted in neighboring states such as Delaware, New Jersey, and New York and supported by all members of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Senator Muth and fellow Senate colleagues Senators Collett, Lindsey Williams, Kearney, Santarsiero and Fontana introduced legislation in the previous session as well as this session, with SB406 and SB407.
“In good conscience, we cannot wait another day, let alone force survivors to endure another two years of suffering,” said Senator Muth. “So many have waited far too long for justice and we must set political differences aside to do what is right for the survivor. Thousands and thousands of survivors across our Commonwealth have waited far too long for healing and justice.”
For more information or to contact Senator Muth directly, please visit www.SenatorMuth.com or call the Royersford District Office at (610) 792-2137.