This article updated to add comment of Representative Jesse Topper
24 February 2023- It looks like the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will finally be moving out of a Special Session as they vote overwhelmingly to move a measure aimed at opening a window to childhood sex abuse victims to the Senate, then for public referendum. However, this amendment vote received little to no support locally as all Franklin and Fulton County Representatives vote against HB2, with only one voting for HB1.
After over a month of recess to talk about rules, the House finally signs off on HB1 by a vote of 161-40. Though some republicans did vote for the measure the number voting against the bill did more than double from the vote last session. Among the 40 nays, however, were Representatives Rob Kauffman, Paul Schemel, Rich Irvin, Barbara Gleim, and chair of the House Freedom Caucus, Dawn Keefer. Many of them, including Schemel, were concerned that this path to a Constitutional Amendment would be antithetical to the idea of a statute of limitations.
Two important Republican names who DID vote for the legislation, however, were Republican Leader Bryan Cutler and Fulton County’s Jesse Topper. Topper explained to Newstalk1037FM that he has been consistent in his support for allowing the voters to decide on this issue and once again voted in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment despite the odd circumstances surrounding this particular vote.
HB2, which is nearly the same bill as HB1, also passed, albeit at a narrower margin, 134-67. HB2 would allow for the process to open the statute of limitations window without a constitutional amendment. Topper and Culter joined their other colleagues in voting against this measure. Cutler explained this in a statement, saying he had “personal concerns over potential legal challenges to the bill’s constitutionality until such time that the Constitution is amended.”
The legislation moves to the Senate, which can vote to add it as a ballot measure in the November election and/or pass it as stand alone law.