Feb. 12, 2020

HARRISBURG – Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) announced that Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed legislation that would have protected Polk and White Haven residents from eviction before an appropriate plan for closure has been created.

Despite the strong support from thousands of Pennsylvanians, the governor refused to support legislation that would have provided time to consider whether closures are the best option for residents. If that choice was made and at least five years had passed from the bill becoming law, the legislation would have also required that a sensible plan be created for the transition of residents to their new homes.

Senate Bill 906 also 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 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.”

Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
RepJames.com / Facebook.com/RepLeeJames