‘Disappointing Beyond Belief’: Rep. James Responds to Wolf’s Veto of Bill to Stop State Center Closures

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) immediately responded on Wednesday to the announcement of Governor Tom Wolf’s veto of a bill that would have placed a moratorium on the planned closures of Polk and White Haven State Centers.

The bill, Senate Bill 906, put a five-year moratorium on any state center closures, and would have established a task force to evaluate the centers and provide recommendations to the department prior to any closures. It had strong support in both chambers of the General Assembly.

“The governor favored his opinion over the voices of so many, and it’s disappointing beyond belief. Government is supposed to serve the people, but it failed today. The residents, their loved ones and the dedicated caregivers at the state centers deserve better,” James said.

James also indicated his support of a veto override. For that to be successful, the House and Senate would have to take an additional vote. Both votes would need a two-thirds majority.

The other option – which is already in process – is the lawsuit against Gov. Tom Wolf, Polk and White Haven centers, the administrators of both centers, Secretary of Human Services Teresa Miller and Deputy Secretary of the Office of Developmental Programs Kristin Ahrens.

“While lawsuits don’t happen as quickly as we would hope in this situation, it is another way to save the residents,” James said.

“Our work is not done yet, so I humbly ask for your continued support as we fight on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves.”

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