Gov. Wolf Calls for Special Session to Propose a Constitutional Amendment

Governor Tom WolfImage via Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

PENNSYLVANIA — On Friday, Governor Tom Wolf issued a proclamation calling for a special session of the General Assembly to be held on Monday, January 9, 2023, to propose a constitutional amendment to retroactively extend the timeline for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil actions.

“For far too many Pennsylvanians, justice and healing for the pain they’ve experienced is out of reach,” said Gov. Wolf. “This special session is a critical step to allow the General Assembly to focus their work on this important, and potentially life-saving, task. No survivor should be denied the chance to hold their abuser accountable, regardless of how much time has passed.”

At the special session, the governor is calling on the General Assembly to complete the constitutionally required second passage of last session’s House Bill 14 to ensure that the voters have their say in this May’s election. The process was already restarted when they passed House Bill 14 last session.

The governor is asking the General Assembly to pass the joint resolution no later than Friday, January 27. This very tight schedule can only be accomplished under the specific circumstances of a single, straightforward amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution such as the one under consideration here. This timeframe will ensure the Department of State can meet the publication requirements so that Pennsylvania voters have the opportunity to consider the amendment in May.

“Now is the time to stand together and send a clear message: childhood sexual abuse will not be tolerated in our commonwealth and survivors will have the support they need to find justice,” added Gov. Wolf.

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In August of last year, Gov. Wolf and legislative leaders agreed that the constitutional amendment process is the best path forward. Today’s action is a promise fulfilled to Pennsylvanians.

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