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Pa. Senate chooses not to vote on Statute of Limitations reform

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa.-- The State Senate chose not to vote on a Statute of Limitations reform on Wednesday, delaying any measure to aid victims of child sex abuse until January 2019 at the earliest.

The decision comes after a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report released in August that claimed that more than 1,000 victims were sexually abused over a period of decades by more than 300 Catholic priests.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, along with other lawmakers, criticized the move on the final legislative session day.

Senate Bill 261, would have given victims until the age of 50 to seek restitution. The measure also would have opened a two year window for victims to file lawsuits against their abusers. However, some state Senators argued the retroactive clause was unconstitutional.

Throughout the day Wednesday, lawmakers said that Senate Republicans were going to vote on an amendment which would only allow lawsuits against individuals, and not institutions, like the Catholic Church.

House Majority leader David Reed said the house would not accept that bill.

The day ended shortly before 11:00 p.m., when Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati decided not to have the Senate vote on the bill.

A new voting session will begin in January, but lawmakers could still come back to vote if called upon.

Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster County) said in a statement he does not believe the Senate should adjourn until reforms are met.

"The time to act is now.  Reforms have languished for far too long," Aument wrote. "(Victims) desire the accountability that any other citizen would want if they were victimized, and I have supported them in that effort."