Lawmakers rush to wrap up final session votes
HARRISBURG >> Pennsylvania lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Wednesday to face a rush to wrap up work on dozens of bills on what was expected to be their last day of votes in the two-year legislative session.
Measures up for final passage could include Republicans’ long-sought legislation to overhaul benefits in Pennsylvania’s two massive public pension plans and another to temporarily extend a mandate that casinos pay tens of millions of dollars to host communities.
Lawmakers expected to work late into the night. Bills that do not pass Wednesday will die when the legislative session ends Nov. 30, unless House or Senate leaders make an 11th-hour decision to schedule votes on another day before then.
Other items on tap include measures to fight opioid addiction; to ban elective abortions after 20 weeks, compared to 24 weeks in current law; and to make it easier for gun owners and groups — including the National Rifle Association — to sue municipalities over their firearms ordinances.
The abortion bill and the firearms bill both face a likely veto by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. He has been noncommittal about the proposed pension changes.
Also pending is a bill that would lift time limits for some perpetrators of child sexual abuse to be sued by their victims and prosecuted by authorities. However, a bone of contention was the Senate’s rejection of a provision approved overwhelmingly by the House to retroactively restore the ability of former child victims to sue for damages if they are now older than the current legal age limit of 30.