Pressure-filled week ends without Senate vote on statute of limitations reform

Pressure-filled week ends without Senate vote on statute of limitations reform

After a day of closed door caucuses, whispered rumors and fiery press conferences, statute of limitations reform went quietly into a late Harrisburg night.

That was despite enormous pressure on the Senate from victims of child abuse, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the House throughout the week. Victims lined hallways reading the grand jury report and held personal conversations with senators, from the rank and file to leaders.

But Wednesday, the last voting day before the Nov. 6 elections, there never was a vote on SB 261 — Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati’s (R-Jefferson) own bill, amended in the House to include a civil window that he refused to back. 
Thursday, October 18, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
A “last ditch effort”: Scarnati hopes for deal Tuesday evening on grand jury recommendations

A “last ditch effort”: Scarnati hopes for deal Tuesday evening on grand jury recommendations

As pressure continues to mount on the Senate to pass a bill to help survivors of child abuse, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) said a deal was nearly in place


“We have almost all the components to a bill agreed to with a [victim’s compensation] fund,” Scarnati said. “We’re down to looking at what a window would look like. Attorneys are working, I’m working, we’re trying to come up with a compromise, something that Rep. [Mark] Rozzi will like.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
As abuse victims line hallways, debate rages behind closed doors over civil window

As abuse victims line hallways, debate rages behind closed doors over civil window

With a well-tailored pinstripe suit, white pocket square and small black ribbon pin, Arthur Baselice stood sentinel by the door to the office of Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

Quietly, the former Philadelphia police detective held a sign with a picture of his son, Arthur III, and the two priests who abused him as a high schooler. The younger Arthur ended up dying of a drug overdose while attempting to deal with the trauma.

Occasionally wiping away tears, occasionally profane, Baselice, one of dozens of survivors to fill the Senate Monday, relayed his belief that the Senate needed to pass SB 261. The bill sponsored by Scarnati was amended in the House to include an option Scarnati calls unconstitutional and opposes: the civil window.

Monday, October 15, 2018/Author: Kara Barmoy
Civil window debate snarls up grand jury report response

Civil window debate snarls up grand jury report response

A preliminary offer from the Pennsylvania Senate that does not allow for retroactive civil suits has strained negotiations on the legislative response to the grand jury report.

The offer, first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, includes a tribunal of state appeals judges tasked with handing out money from a defined fund, which a senate memo describes as “the most compensation a victim can receive in the timeliest manner possible.”

Any organization could pay in to settle child abuse cases. The panel would audit groups to determine how much funding each could reasonably offer, and victims would have one year to make claims.
Friday, October 12, 2018/Author: Kara Barmoy
Statute of limitations negotiations near finish line as arguments over sovereign immunity continue

Statute of limitations negotiations near finish line as arguments over sovereign immunity continue

A compromise on the General Assembly’s statute of limitations bill is due the end of this week and will be officially announced next week, according to Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks).

Rozzi has been meeting privately with Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) for the past few weeks to negotiate the language in closed door discussions.

However, multiple lawmakers expressed their certainty that the bill would pass before the elections, adding to next week’s final push by both chambers to move legislation ahead of Nov. 6.
Thursday, October 11, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
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