HARRISBURG – Today, the Pennsylvania Senate passed two state constitutional amendments that threaten to roll back democracy in the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 1 would make it harder for Pennsylvanians to cast their ballots by instituting a strict identification mandate and make it easier for the state legislature to override executive regulations put forth by the governor by a simple majority vote of lawmakers.
S.B. 1 also includes a third constitutional amendment to temporarily lift the statute of limitations for survivors of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits.
“These amendments represent a shameful attack on our democracy and are just the latest salvo in the right-wing campaign to curtail voting rights and weaken democratic institutions,” said Elizabeth Randol, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The photo identification mandate amendment could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters across Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, during today’s debate in the Senate, supporters couldn’t even articulate how it would work when they were pressed for clarification.
“Senate Republicans are engaged in a partisan power grab over executive branch regulations. Those regulations are carefully crafted by issue experts and can impact millions of people, from labor to the environment to health to education. Turning regulations into political footballs in a polarized legislature will have negative impacts on the people of Pennsylvania.
“The inclusion of the statute of limitations amendment is an absurd addition and is designed only to put pressure on members of the state House to pass these dangerous amendments. Senate Republicans are holding survivors of child sexual abuse hostage to their anti-democracy agenda.
“As they move forward on these amendments, it’s clear that Republicans in Harrisburg learned nothing from their electoral drubbing in 2022. The voters are fed up with political games that undermine their freedoms and liberties.”
To successfully amend the state constitution, amendments must be passed in two successive legislative sessions before being presented to voters as a ballot question. This would be the second passage of the amendments, which could appear on ballots as early as the May primary.