Bill to put moratorium on closing White Haven, Polk centers receives committee approval

HARRISBURG, Oct. 22 – A bill which would put a moratorium on closing the White Haven and Polk state centers today was approved by the House Health Committee, according to sponsor state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne.

“The governor’s heartless and rash decision has had a devastating impact on our most vulnerable constituents, their families and caregivers,” Mullery said. “The committee’s approval of this bill provides the entire House an opportunity to evaluate this decision and offer an alternative path forward.”

House Bill 1918 would enact a moratorium on the closing of White Haven and Polk state centers until Pennsylvania is better prepared to respond to the impending fallout. It has bipartisan support with co-prime sponsors Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Luzerne, and Rep. R. Lee James, R-Venango/Butler.

“I would like to thank House Health Committee Chair Kathy Rapp for recognizing the importance of House Bill 1918 and running it so quickly,” Toohil said. “Time is of the essence. After listening to the testimony during Monday’s public hearing on the closure decision, it is clear that we need this legislation more than ever.”

“I applaud Representative Mullery for drafting this important bill that Representative Toohil and I were proud to co-prime sponsor, and the committee for passing it in response to yesterday’s passionate testimony provided by family members with residents at Polk and White Haven, doctors citing transfer trauma and employees concerned about the welfare of the people they care for each day,” James said. “I am advocating for a House vote on this bill as soon as the schedule permits, so it sees prompt movement through the legislative process.”

The bill, which was approved 16-8 by the committee, heads to the full House for consideration.