State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today urged the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee to consider House Bill 73, which establishes the State Facilities Closure Review Commission to review proposed closures of state developmental centers, including those in Youngstown and Montgomery County already set for closure.


The governor vetoed Lepore-Hagan’s bipartisan provision in the recently passed state budget that would have stayed the closures upon the review of a 13-member commission.


In a letter addressed to the chair of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, Rep. Lepore-Hagan wrote, “At minimum, there should be a robust and transparent review of all facts before the state decides to take action. House Bill 73 would ensure that such a review takes place, and it would provide the opportunity for residents, families, employees and the surrounding communities to have their voices heard.”


Text of the letter can be seen below:


Dear Chairman Brown,


I am writing this letter to urge the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee to take up House Bill 73, which would establish a State Facilities Closure Review Commission to review proposed closures of the state’s developmental centers in Youngstown and Montgomery County.


With Governor Kasich vetoing this bipartisan provision in the legislature’s version of the state budget, it is now even more important that we—as a separate and equal branch of government—take this opportunity to stand up for the stability and happiness of developmentally disabled Ohioans and the workers who care for them.


With roughly 40,000 developmentally disabled Ohioans remaining on a waitlist for services, it seems now is not the time to be closing the state’s developmental centers in Youngstown and Montgomery County.


At minimum, there should be a robust and transparent review of all facts before the state decides to take action. House Bill 73 would ensure that such a review takes place, and it would provide the opportunity for residents, families, employees and the surrounding communities to have their voices heard.


I believe this bill is now our only chance at having an honest discussion about the possibility of our most vulnerable citizens being displaced from the community they call home. I was pleased it received the bipartisan support from the House and Senate needed to be included as an amendment to the state budget, and I hope this is an indication of this chamber’s willingness to move stand-alone legislation.


Thank you for consideration.


Sincerely,


Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan


House District 58


 


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