January 11, 2023, Harrisburg Pa. — On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Senate approved three amendments to the state constitution that would enact voter identification, regulatory, and statute of limitation reforms. Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49), gives voters the final say on whether the constitutional amendments pass.
The first requires voters to present valid identification before voting and provides free identification as needed. The second allows the state legislature to review and disapprove of proposed state regulations, which unelected bureaucrats can currently impose unilaterally. The third creates a two-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue for damages—an amendment that has already passed twice and would have been on the ballot in 2021 if not for a procedural blunder by the Wolf administration.
“The proposed constitutional amendments protect and restore faith in our democratic institutions,” said Nathan Benefield, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation. “Pennsylvanians need confidence that their votes matter and that their elected representatives—not unelected bureaucrats—are empowered to review costly, expansive regulations that impact their daily lives.”
Pennsylvania has a lengthy, rigorous process for passing state constitutional amendments. The legislature must pass identical language in two consecutive sessions, and then a majority of voters must approve via referendum.
“Both Voter ID and regulatory reform are popular among voters and have strong, bipartisan support in the legislature,” said Benefield. “The state Senate today voted to give Pennsylvanians a voice and final say in whether to enact these reforms. The state House should follow their lead.”
This is the second consecutive year the Pennsylvania Senate has approved the Voter ID and regulatory reform amendments. The amendments now await the state House—where Democrats have been fighting to prevent a vote.
Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Stefanie Mason [email protected] or 414-418-5132 to schedule an interview.
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