HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania House Speaker Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) has largely been silent in his first six weeks on the job. Now with the House back in a special session, Rozzi sat down with capitol bureau reporter Dennis Owens.
The interview came after the House advanced legislation to create a constitutional amendment and a separate law that would give survivors of childhood sexual abuse a window to sue their alleged abuser outside of the statute of limitation.
There is widespread speculation that once the abuse legislation is passed Rozzi will step aside, paving the way for State House Majority Leader Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) to become Speaker.
When asked if he plans to step aside after the special session, Rozzi did not deny the possibility.
“What I’m going to tell you right now is, my commitment to victims of childhood sex abuse is to get this done above everything else. And that’s my only priority, and the only thing I’m focused on right now is getting victims justice because they have waited over 18.5 years to finally get the chance to file their case in the civil court of law. So for me to even think outside these parameters right now, who knows what happens in the next couple of days. I mean, I thought I would’ve been deposed today too, but that didn’t happen. So right now I’m going to stay in the moment and make sure this gets done.”
Rozzi, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, had pledged to not consider any other legislation until the sexual abuse legislation passed. The pledge led to a six weeksix-week stalemate in the House and Rozzi embarking on a statewide listening tour.
The bills that were advanced on Tuesday are expected to pass the House on Friday and go to the State Senate.
Wednesday is a non-voting session for the House, but votes on their legislation are expected later this week.
The State Senate previously passed a constitutional amendment that included three amendments, one of which is a voter ID law. The House bill will be a standalone bill that the Republican-controlled Senate will consider.
Should the bill pass both the House and Senate, as well as receive Governor Josh Shapiro’s signature, it will be on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment. for voters to decide.