Legislation To Protect Youngstown Developmental Center Receives First Hearing In Ohio House
Rep. Lepore-Hagan says decision to close state facility made without community input

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today provided sponsor testimony for House Bill (HB) 73, her legislation to prohibit the governor from unilaterally closing, selling, or privatizing any state institutional facility. The Mahoning Valley lawmaker introduced the legislation after the state announced the planned closure of the Youngstown Developmental Center (YDC), home to over 80 developmentally disabled residents and workplace of hundreds of dedicated staff members. 

“The families of residents are understandably upset and the employees are disappointed by the unilateral decision of governor and the Department of Developmental Disabilities to close the Youngstown Developmental Center,” Lepore-Hagan said. “Families, residents and workers deserve a more measured approach to key policy decisions that not only affect the state’s operations, but the security and comfort of residents and the ability of families to maintain close proximity to their loved ones.” 

Under HB 73, a bipartisan commission would have to examine 10 separate factors in determining the validity of a proposed state facility closure. The governor would be prohibited from closing, selling, or privatizing any state institutional facility unless the decision to do so is in accordance with the commission’s recommendation. 

“HB 73 would ensure a balanced, bipartisan process for facility closures that takes into account the sentiments of the communities and families that would be affected, “continued Lepore-Hagan. “Such important decisions cannot made behind closed doors – there must be transparency and community input.” 

In February 2015, the state announced it would close the Youngstown Development Center by July 1, 2017. The decision to shutter the YDC will force approximately 86 residents to move to another development center, an Intermediate Care Facility, or into the community, while approximately 214 staff members would be laid off.

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