PA ADAPT Action – Institutions are not the solution – Action against SB 906

On Monday, November 18, 2019 PA ADAPT got together at the Capitol demanding our elected officials Not to take us back in history 45 years, and vote NO to SB 906.

SB 906 would not only keep the Polk and White Haven State Centers open after the announcement of their 3-year plan closures, it would also institute a moratorium on all closures of State funded intellectual disability and developmental disability centers and other long-term institutions.

Meaning, SB 906 would make it impossible to continue de-institutionalization in Pennsylvania as it would mandate no institutions will close until all people who qualify in PA (including our current growing waiting list of 13k) for Home and Community Based Services are enrolled.

We started our morning off at Senator Tartaglione’s office to talk about why she, as a disabled person, is a cosponsor on SB 906. After we hung out in her office for a bit she rolled in and listened to what we had to say, our testimonies, and our demands. She thanked us and initially said she would try to get the original cosponsor to pull the bill. After she left however, her staffer came back quickly and said since the bill is on its third reading they cannot pull it, but that Tartaglione would Vote NO!

Conveniently, the original sponsor of the bill, Senator Yudichak shares the same waiting office space as Tartaglione so we hung out a bit longer to wait for him to get back from his field office in Hazelton. Unfortunately, he must have been stuck in traffic (or probably not) and we didn’t want to miss the Senators walking/rolling into chambers, so we headed down to the second floor and parked ourselves along the wall in front of the Senate voting chambers entrance for when session was set to start, 1pm.

We filled the halls with our chant “VOTE NO on 906” for nearly two hours straight.

Eventually, Senate went into recess and they all skipped out a different exit to avoid us – we found out after Pam Auer ,Germán L. Parodi , Spitfire A Sabel , Misty Marie , Jerry Webb ,and Tamika rolled in to find no one.

It was clear they were taking their good ole time to take a vote, or maybe they were really waiting for Yudichak to get out of traffic? Either way, it was nearing the end of the day, the cops didn’t want to even talk to us let alone arrest us, and we surely got our point across after chanting for 2 hours the same thing –

“VOTE NO on 906”

We packed our bags, folded up our rain poncho signs, and rolled out ADAPT style. On our train ride home that night we found out the Senate passed SB 906. Senator Tartaglione did keep her word though and was one of the few “No” votes. The House now has 3 days to vote on SB 906.We need all hands, feet, stubs on deck! If you live in PA call your Representative and tell them to Vote NO on SB 906 – that we don’t want to go back in history 45 years, and institutions are not the solution! In the activist life we know not every action (most actions)don’t end in big victories.

We will hold Governor Wolf to his word of committing (on camera) to Veto SB 906, and we’ll have his written commitment by November 19th or 20th – if the bills don’t land on his desk to Veto before then.

VOTE NO SB 906 – VETO SB 906

#FreeOurPeople #OurHomes #NOTInstitutions #InstitutionsAreNotTheSolution #NotGoingBack45Years #Olmstead #20years #MoveForward #NotBackwards