– Despite pledging to run a transparent government, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said it needs more time to review a Right-to-Know request filed by Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) related to communications surrounding the administration’s failure to advertise a constitutional amendment that would have given victims of childhood sexual abuse recourse in civil court.
On Feb. 24, Ortitay requested copies from the governor’s office and the Pennsylvania Department of State of all communications regarding “House Bill 963 of 2019
,” “Joint Resolution 2 of 2019” and the “publication of the constitutional language” to gain a better understanding of how the Department of State failed to comply with its mandatory duty to advertise this constitutional amendment.
“In early February, it came to light that the Department of State failed to properly advertise a constitutional amendment to open a two-year window so that civil lawsuits alleging childhood sexual abuse could be filed outside of the statute of limitations,” Ortitay said. “As a result, this disenfranchised voters’ ability to voice their support or opposition and re-abused child victims by making them wait longer for a final decision on whether they can pursue legal action.
“It’s been a month since this discovery,” Ortitay added. “Despite claiming he is for transparency, since this discovery, the governor and his administration have failed to answer questions or provide information about how this occurred. We deserve answers now, and I am hopeful my Right-to-Know request will give some. Since he has delayed a formal response, we will have to wait longer.”
Because the department failed to properly advertise, any vote on this amendment is delayed for at least two years. Amending the Constitution is a lengthy process by design. To do so, the proposed amendment must be passed in identical form in both the House and Senate for two consecutive legislative sessions. The General Assembly approved this proposal last session and was on track to get it on the ballot in May.
The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships, and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.