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Bill Halting Closure of State Centers for at Least Five Years Passes House

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 @ 02:01 PM

Posted by exploreClarion

polk-centerHARRISBURG, Pa. – After dedicated opposition to the governor’s call to close Polk State Center, Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) announced that legislation passed the House today to prevent the closure of any state centers until at least five years from the bill’s passage, but not before a sensible plan for closure is created.

Without passage of Senate Bill 906, the centers’ residents – many of whom have called the centers home for decades – face eviction against their will.

“My concern about Gov. Tom Wolf’s mandated closure of Polk and White Haven has always been the residents and their welfare. A topic that has such serious, life-changing implications must be thoroughly considered from all angles. The amendment I offered would require proper consideration,” James said.

The bill would require a task force to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the state centers and provide recommendations to the Department of Human Services prior to the closure of any state center. A majority of the task force must approve the plan, and five years must pass after the bill is signed into law.

The James amendment eliminates the requirement that every Pennsylvanian who is Medicaid waiver-eligible is moved off the waiting list and into community-based services prior to the closure of any state center.

“Thousands of people shared their opposition to the abrupt closure the governor mandated last August. Because of their support, we are one step closer to protecting these vulnerable members of our community,” James added. “I look forward to the bill’s swift vote in the Senate.”

Because Senate Bill 906 was amended, it must return to the Senate for a concurrence vote before it is presented to the governor for his signature.


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