Monday, March 27, 2023

Play

Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

Play

Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

Play

Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

PA Senate Bill Proposes Changes to State Constitution

Play

Thursday, February 2, 2023   

A bill in the Pennsylvania General Assembly would amend the state Constitution to allow more adult victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers.

Senate Bill 1 would open a two-year retroactive window for lawsuits by victims of sexual abuse who were otherwise time-barred from bringing claims.

Terry Clark president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services, said in 2019, the state extended the civil statute of limitations for child sexual-abuse victims to file suit, from age 30 to age 55. Clark pointed out the bill would also allow legal action against organizations the Council works with to support victims.

"And this really is where our concern is, because it relates to a person being able to sue institutions," Clark explained. "Those institutions aren't just folks like the Catholic churches or Boy Scouts of America. It's also foster-care providers, adoption providers, residential treatment providers."

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Laughlin R-Erie, also includes new, stricter voter ID requirements. Clark noted the proposed amendments would have to pass in two consecutive legislative sessions, before they would be put on the ballot for voters statewide.

Clark added there are concerns opening a two-year window for sexual-abuse claims, referred to as the "look-back time," may prompt some fraudulent claims. The Council recommended legislators consider a shorter time window of one year instead of two.

"But also establishing parameters around potential defendants," Clark urged. "That would mean including some type of language that limits the scope to who the perpetrator is; the individual causing the harm being more the individual, versus being the institution itself."

Clark emphasized his group would also back requiring some level of fact-finding before a claim is filed, including evaluation by a licensed mental-health professional certifying there is a reasonable basis to believe sexual abuse occurred.

"One of the other things is really looking at creating a victim's compensation fund," Clark noted. "That's a fund that would really help victims and their families through that time. That's the emotional, physical, and traumatic time, it helps ease the financial impact of the services that they might need to heal."

Other suggestions would be mandatory, structured settlements with specific dollar amounts, and including language in the bill to cap attorney fees, to ensure most of the money in a sexual-abuse settlement goes to meeting the needs of the survivor.

Disclosure: The Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Children's Issues, Education, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

References:  
Senate Bill 1 2023

get more stories like this via email
During this year's ACA open-enrollment period, a record high of more than 16 million people signed up, with 4.4 million more enrolled for health insurance coverage since 2021, according to federal data. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

It's been 13 years since more than 156,000 West Virginians gained health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. As sweeping and …


Social Issues

High school graduates have the option before taking their next academic step to choose a gap year - for traveling, relaxing, or researching different …

Environment

A bill designed to fight price-gouging at the gas pump is expected to pass the California State Assembly today and be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom …


Student leaders learn about the estuary near Morro Rock, which is part of the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. (Kai Monge)

Environment

This week, Hispanic environmental advocates are heading to Washington, D.C., from around the country to engage lawmakers on issues affecting us all…

Social Issues

More than one in three Ohioans are relying on credit cards for spending needs, and nearly a quarter say they've increased their credit-card use in …

2023 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Dani Charbonneau, who runs the Project Vine Alternative Program at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, is the first Martha's Vineyard teacher to win the state's top award for educators. (MTA)

Social Issues

Massachusetts, like other states, continues to struggle with a shortage of teachers. But for one English teacher at Martha's Vineyard Regional High …

Health and Wellness

Beginning next year, more Kentuckians will have expanded access to biomarker testing - which helps doctors customize cancer treatment. Advocates of …

Social Issues

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed new regulations on credit card late fees, which could save Americans billions of dollars…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021