PA Department of State On Failure to Advertise Constitutional Amendment

Acting Secretary of State Veronica DegraffenreidActing Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

HARRISBURG, PA — Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid recently responded to the findings of the Office of State Inspector General’s report on the Department of State’s failure to advertise a constitutional amendment, HB 963. The proposed constitutional amendment would have extended retroactively the timeline sexual abuse victims have to file civil action against their abusers.

“On behalf of the Department of State, I apologize to the victims of abuse for the additional pain and distress we have caused them,” said Secretary Degraffenreid. “We are committed to ensuring such a failing will never happen again.”

The Department of State has already implemented several changes to improve its processes. These include both recommendations from the Inspector General’s report and additional changes instituted by the department:

  • Creating a documented process for how proposed constitutional amendments are handled from start to finish.
  • Creating written training materials for staff and requiring new and current staff to be trained on these processes annually.
  • Instituting written and electronic tracking systems for every step in handling proposed constitutional amendments.
  • Implementing a “top down” process which makes the department’s Executive Deputy Secretary responsible for leading staff response to proposed constitutional amendments, including notification of the physical receipt of documents, and convening executive team members to respond.

“The Department of State thanks the Office of the State Inspector General for its thorough review and recommendations,” said Secretary Degraffenreid. “As we move forward, we will be implementing these changes and looking for other process improvements.”

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