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PA Sen. Lisa Baker, Rep. Joanna McClinton honored as recipients of PCAR’s Legislative Champion awards

HARRISBURG—The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape is proud to recognize its inaugural 2022 Legislative Champion awards recipients, PA Senator Lisa Baker and Rep. Joanna McClinton. The award recognizes a member of the House of Representatives and Senate each year whose leadership and commitment has positively impact sexual assault survivors and their community.

“PCAR is honored to recognize the efforts of Sen. Baker and Rep. McClinton for their leadership on legislation that helps to prevent sexual harassment, abuse and assault—and support survivors of abuse,” PCAR Public Policy and Legislative Affairs Director Donna Greco  said. “Their leadership in speaking out in support of policy continues to help build safer communities in the Commonwealth. Their voices uplift the needs of survivors and all who work each day to end sexual harassment, abuse, and assault.”

Sen. Baker, in her role as Senate Judiciary Committee chair, has been instrumental in advancing issues that are important to survivors. Due in large part to her leadership in the 2019 legislative session, the statute of limitations was extended for college-age victims. This session, Senator Baker has championed several bills that will help victims of sexual assault including one of PCAR’s core priorities: SB 704, which would better protect older adults and adults with disabilities from institutional sexual assault, by their caregivers.

Rep. McClinton worked to criminalize acts of sexual extortion in the 2019 legislative session, which had been a crime that fell through the cracks of our statutes, leaving victims without legal redress. This session, she has led the way in the House of Representatives in support of a statewide rape kit tracking system to provide sexual assault survivors with access to timely information and status updates regarding evidence in their cases.

She has also been a strong supporter for people who do not have a voice in the laws and systems that affect their lives. She is committed to reforming the criminal justice system, fighting discrimination and protecting reproductive healthcare.

“Sen. Baker and Rep. McClinton are shining examples of the dramatic effect compassionate legislative leaders can have on the lives of survivors,” PCAR CEO Karen Baker said. “Adult survivors of child sexual abuse have waited far too long to have the opportunity to seek civil damages and all survivors who choose to pursue criminal charges against those to abused them deserve to know the status of their rape kit and how their case is proceeding. We applaud these legislative leaders for working to advance the needs of survivors and work to end sexual harassment, abuse, and assault through policy change.”

About Sen. Lisa Baker:

Senator Lisa Baker is serving her fourth term representing the 20th Senatorial District, which includes substantial parts of Luzerne and Susquehanna counties and all of Pike, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.

She is noted for her accessibility in the district, for her practical and reasonable approach to problem-solving, and for her bipartisan work on constructive legislation.  Numerous community organizations and projects have benefitted from her concerted advocacy, including business development and job creation efforts, library expansions, senior housing initiatives, and recreation programs. Working with county and municipal officials, she has helped to secure essential funding for sewer and water system upgrades, transportation priorities, and intergovernmental cooperation efforts.

This session is her second chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee, an important and consequential committee with broad jurisdiction and a high number of bills referred to it. She also serves as a member of the following committees: Aging and Youth, Communications and Technology, Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Labor and Industry, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness.  These assignments give her the chance to work in-depth on many of the concerns expressed by individuals and groups in the district, to push forward on reform and cost-efficiency measures, and to shape programs opening the door for opportunities that residents are seeking.

About Rep. Joanna McClinton:

State Representative Joanna McClinton has served as a member of Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 2015, representing the 191st State House District, which includes parts of Western and Southwestern Philadelphia, Yeadon, and Darby.

Representative McClinton has worked as an attorney and policymaker for a decade. She’s a historic trailblazer, passionate advocate, and dedicated public servant.

In 2015, Rep McClinton was the first woman ever to be elected from her district to the State House. Three years later, she became the first woman and first black person in Pennsylvania’s History to serve as Chair of the State House Democratic Caucus. In 2020, Representative McClinton became the first woman elected to serve as Democratic Leader of Pennsylvania’s State House, the oldest legislative body in the United States.