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Child sex abuse relief won't be on 2023 Pa. ballot

Plus, new law expands property tax rebate program.

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Blown deadline, rebate relief, late payments, contract terminated, school scolded, request rebuffed, and the Wawa of the future.

The wait for legal relief will continue for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Pennsylvania after the General Assembly failed to meet a deadline to get a related constitutional amendment on the next ballot.

Per Spotlight PA: This failure continues nearly two decades of idleness, intrigues, and slip-ups that have blocked a measure that would give thousands of survivors a two-year window to seek monetary damages against their abusers and the institutions that shielded the accused. 

Read the full report: Proposed relief for child sex abuse survivors won’t reach Pennsylvania ballots in 2023.

THE CONTEXT: In order for a proposed constitutional amendment to reach voters, the legislature must approve the same language in two consecutive sessions. The proposal must also be advertised in advance.

But the Pennsylvania Department of State told Spotlight PA it is too late to draft, approve, and publish the legally required notices in newspapers to hold a constitutional referendum this year on the subject. 

Lawmakers in the state House have passed five different measures since January that would create a two-year period to file civil suits in cases where the statute of limitations has already passed. 

Faster-acting traditional legislation is also an option, but leadership in the GOP-controlled state Senate has said they will pass the window only as a voter-tested constitutional amendment. 

Read more, via Spotlight PA archives: ‘Internal systemic failures’ led to Wolf administration blunder that derailed child sex abuse amendment.


"We are working closely with federal law enforcement to respond to this incident."

Prospect Medical Holdings on a cyberattack that knocked computer systems offline and diverted ambulances at hospitals in Connecticut and Pennsylvania

Support Spotlight PA's investigative journalism for Pennsylvania and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED.
We've been challenged to raise $25,000 by Aug. 19 to unlock a HUGE $25,000 matching gift. That means your contribution will be DOUBLED. Help sustain Spotlight PA's vital reporting for the remainder of 2023 now.

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» Anti-abortion activist Mark Houck to challenge Fitzpatrick, via PoliticsPA

» Pa.'s Next Generation Engagement commission sworn in, via WFMZ

» Pa. Senate bills would cap some rental fees, costs, via WHTM

» Applications open for November mail ballots, via USA Today (paywall)

» Tree of Life verdict comes amid Biden death penalty scrutiny, via AP

A white-tailed deer browsing the woods of the Trexler Nature Preserve in Lehigh County, via Don N. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.REBATE FIX: Thousands more older and disabled Pennsylvanians will be able to qualify for the state’s property tax and rent rebate program after Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro signed a new law Friday. The law expands the income eligibility cap to prevent the continued 14-year decline of residents receiving the benefits. The income limits will now adjust to inflation each year.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.PAYMENT BACKLOG: Five months after attempting to fix a troubled mortgage assistance program, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is still struggling through a backlog. Spotlight PA’s five takeaways from our follow-up investigation of the program explain the scope of the issue. Read the original story here.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.CONTRACT CUT: The Shapiro administration has ended Pennsylvania's contract with Real Alternatives, a Harrisburg-based organization that received more than $30 million in public funding from 2012 to 2017 to support anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy centers" across the state. The contract ends Dec. 31, the Capital-Star reports.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.OPEN LETTER: Philly-based free speech group FIRE questioned Penn State’s commitment to freedom of expression in a letter criticizing the school’s decision to cut funding for student newspaper The Daily Collegian. The group's letter to the chair of Penn State’s board of trustees pointed out the school owns two private planes for administrators’ personal travel and pays millions of dollars to its football coaches.
  • RELATED: Penn State works to trim deficits that have placed it in 'vulnerable state,' president says, via TribLIVE
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.WATER RULING: Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of ratepayers in a July 31 ruling that reversed a Public Utilities Commission decision that allowed Aqua Pennsylvania to purchase East Whiteland Township’s sewer system. WHYY reports a Pennsylvania consumer advocate argued that PUC failed to show the sale’s benefits for the township.
Support Spotlight PA's investigative journalism for Pennsylvania and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED.

ACCESS DENIED: A gun rights lawyer asked Lancaster for the names of donors to a now defunct legal fund the city set up to defend itself against an NRA lawsuit in 2015, but the city declined, saying the records are exempt under the Right-to-Know Law, LNP (paywall) reports.

OFF-AIR: The Confluence, a long-running Pittsburgh public radio show covering regional and state issues, signed off for good last Friday. Listen to the show interview Mayor Ed Gainey for its final broadcast.

STATUE DESIGNS: Philadelphia revealed the five semifinal designs for its Harriet Tubman statue, Axios reports. The statue will be the first of a historic Black woman in the city’s first public art collection.

BUSHY RUN: Reenactors assembled Saturday to celebrate the 260th anniversary of the colonial-era Battle of Bushy Run. The event follows an earlier cancellation over a state policy designed to prevent distasteful portrayals of indigenous people.

WAWA 2.0: Drexel University’s Wawa is reopening with a fully digital setup that features no shelves and offers only kiosk and mobile ordering.

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Congrats to our weekly winner: Laurie L.
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