I do not believe in accidents when it comes to justice for survivors of child sexual abuse. So when I heard last week about the “mistake” made in the process of bringing an amendment that would extend the timeline retroactively for victims to file civil actions against the predators that abused and raped them, I was skeptical. Because of the “error,” the proposal must go back to the start of the amendment process that would, at the earliest, make it to a referendum that the voters could consider in 2023.
How did this happen? Pennsylvania’s State Constitution requires that amendments to the Constitution are advertised in local newspapers around the Commonwealth before a general election. In this case, the deadline would have been before the November 5, 2020 election. Someone “forgot” to advertise the amendment in local newspapers before the last election as required by the state constitution. Article XI, Section I of the Pennsylvania Constitution is pretty straightforward:
Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed in the Senate or House of Representatives; and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each House, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their journals with the yeas and nays taken thereon, and the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall causes the same to be published three months before the next general election, in at least two newspapers in every county in which such newspapers shall be published; and if, in the General Assembly next afterwards chosen, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each House, the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall cause the same again to be published in the manner aforesaid; and such proposed amendment or amendments shall be submitted to the qualified electors of the State in such manner, and at such time at least three months after being so agreed to by the two Houses, as the General Assembly shall prescribe; and, if such amendment or amendments shall be approved by a majority of those voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become a part of the Constitution; but no amendment or amendments shall be submitted oftener than once in five years. When two or more amendments shall be submitted they shall be voted upon separately.
The “screw up” was acknowledged by the Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, who accepted responsibility for the failure and offered her resignation to Governor Tom Wolfe. The Governor accepted that resignation.
I have a hard time believing that something like this has happened. I have spent almost 39 years in government service (over 24 years as a Naval Officer and 15 years as a Civil Servant). I understand how work is accomplished in the Civil Service. Someone was assigned to make sure that the constitutionally mandated actions for this amendment were completed correctly. There are electronic action processing programs that require status updates and completion reports to supervisors and senior leaders (decision-makers) to ensure timely adherence to long-established processes. If you buy this excuse from the Governor and former Secretary of State, this was a failure of leadership on several levels as well as the person assigned this task for action. I do not, for a moment, believe this was just an oversight.
I am wondering who in the Office of the Secretary of State sold out survivors. I can smell the stink of the Catholic Bishops, insurance companies, and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) (Pedophile Culture Co-conspirators) around this. I have been saying all along that this amendment was not going to make it to the voters. The “mistake” was a creative way to allow both Democrats and Republicans who are indebted to the Catholic Bishops and their proxies to start the process of squashing the amendment. Someone got paid. Someone was responsible for derailing this legislation on its way to a vote to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution.
It is time to investigate what went wrong here and determine if a criminal act has been committed. If you take Governor Wolfe’s statement on its face, you should support cleaning out the Pennsylvania State Department of incompetent Civil Servants.
I believe that a criminal act has taken place and that the bishops and their proxies are once again victimizing survivors. Heads should roll.