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Taft And Lawmakers Compromise On Crime Prevention/Institution Closure Bill
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 9, 2004

COLUMBUS, OHIO--Under a compromise reached between Governor Bob Taft and Ohio lawmakers, a bill that would provide protections for crime victims with developmental disabilities will move forward, even though it includes provisions that that would slow the closure of two state-run institutions.

Senate Bill 178 is a modified version of last year's Senate Bill 4 which Taft vetoed on December 12. Like the previous measure, SB 178 would make it a crime to endanger a person with a developmental disability, in much the same way that endangering a child is a crime.

The compromise legislation still keeps the decision to close institutions in the governor's hands. It leaves in a commission to review his plans to close facilities, but shortens the review period from 180 days to 120 days. It also adds a sixth member to what would have been a five-member commission.

Family members of institution residents, along with employees of the facilities, hope the provisions will give them time to find ways to keep the governor from closing Springview Developmental Center and Apple Creek Developmental Center, which he had scheduled for closure in June 2005 and June 2006 respectively.

Legislators had intended to over-ride Taft's veto, and may still do so if SB 178 is not passed by February 3.

Taft has said he will okay the measure.

Taft had announced his plan to close the facilities in January 2003 as a way to save $23 million over the following four years. Ohio houses more than 1,000 people with developmental disabilities in its 12 institutions.

"Bill could save Apple Creek center" (Akron Beacon Journal)
"Ohio Governor's Attempt To Close Institutions" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)


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