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

HARRISBURG, Dec. 17 – A Senate bill which would put a moratorium on closing of White Haven, Polk state centers today received committee approval according to state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne.

“I want to thank House Health Committee Chair Kathy Rapp for recognizing the necessity of Senate Bill 906 and running it quickly,” Mullery said. “Time is running out to prevent the closure of these centers and to protect the hundreds of residents, their families and their caregivers.”

Senate Bill 906 is a companion bill to Mullery’s bill House Bill 1918. Under the legislation a moratorium would be enacted on the closing of both White Haven and Polk state centers until Pennsylvania is better prepared to respond to the impending fallout.

Mullery said the committee approved it by a vote of 13 to 12 with 13 of 15 Republican members voting in favor and all 10 Democrats against.

“It is very difficult to express my frustration and disappointment with my Democratic colleagues,” Mullery said. “It is difficult enough to be fighting the Governor, but to have members on my own side of the aisle choose party over peoples’ lives and jobs is very disheartening.”

Tom Kashatus, a Luzerne County resident, whose daughter Maria has been at White Haven for 40 years, said he is pleased with the committee vote, but was equally concerned with the vote breakdown.

“I’ve been a Democrat since I was old enough to vote and I am extremely disappointed with the Democrats philosophic change toward caring for people. I don’t know what has happened to this party in Harrisburg, it’s just not the same party today as it was in the past,” Kashatus said. 

S.B. 906 now heads to the full House for consideration.