News & Brews February 24, 2023

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Rep. White requests action on unnamed lawmaker accused of harassment 

Rep. Martina White (Philadelphia) delivered a letter yesterday to Speaker Mark Rozzi and Democrat Leader Joanna McClinton, asking them to investigate and request the resignation of the unnamed Democrat lawmaker accused of sexual harassment. Broad + Liberty recently reported that the identity of the lawmaker is “one of the worst-kept secrets in Harrisburg political circles” (although the name has not been made public). White wrote, “I encourage both of your offices to engage in an investigation to affirmatively identify this member and take any required remedial action, including seeking their resignation.”

House set to vote on sex abuse survivor bills

The House is poised to vote today on two bills that would open a window for victims of childhood sex abuse to sue. One bill would make the change via constitutional amendment (and would need to be approved by voters) and the other would make the change legislatively. But PennLive reports that “if either or both win House passage, the chance for justice that survivors would have sought for nearly two decades remains up in the air. Neither bill matches the version the Senate passed last month.” By way of a brief history lesson, this window would already be open had the Wolf administration not botched its responsibility to advertise the previously-passed proposed constitutional amendment. And even with that, the measure would be on its way to voters in this May’s primary had House Democrats not refused to pass it when the Senate sent it to the lower chamber last month.

Senate committee hears testimony on train havoc 

Yesterday, the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee heard several hours of testimony regarding the Norfolk Southern train derailment. Residents gave impassioned pleas for the truth, while questions swirled around air, water, and soil safety. PennLive reports, “Beaver County Commissioners Chairman Dan Camp implored the committee to not forget about … residents who will be dealing with the impact for years. ‘The emergency may be over,’ Camp said, ‘but the effects on Beaver County will remain.’”

Lawmakers to reintroduce death penalty ban 

Following Gov. Wolf’s call for lawmakers to repeal the death penalty, Democrat lawmakers are planning to reintroduce measures to do just that. PennLive reports, however, that while Democrats have the majority in the House—and, ergo, the momentum—the Republican majority in the Senate (where similar legislation did not advance out of committee last session) suggests the legislation would not make it through both chambers.

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