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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 5, 2020 03:47 PM
From: Senator John T. Yudichak and Sen. Lisa Baker, Sen. John R. Gordner, Sen. Michele Brooks, Sen. Scott E. Hutchinson, Sen. Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Community Recovery and Reinvestment Act
 
Please join us in cosponsoring two pieces of legislation, the Community Recovery and Reinvestment Act establishing a requirement for state government to assist entities that suffer economic and financial distress as a result of the closure of state operated facilities and the Community Recovery and Reinvestment Act – Early Retirement Option for Certain Displaced Workers.

Recently, the Department of Corrections completed an analysis recommending closure of SCI-Retreat located in Luzerne County. Governor Wolf has endorsed that conclusion.

Closing of SCI-Retreat coincides with the announced intent to close two of the four remaining state centers, White Haven Center in Luzerne County and Polk Center in Venango County. These efforts follow the closures of SCI-Pittsburgh, SCI-Cresson, and SCI-Hempfield.

Recognizing the detrimental economic and social consequences of such decisions on the host community, the legislature introduced and enacted Act 133 of 2018, the Public Safety Facilities Act. This statute requires the executive branch to notify important stakeholders of its intent to close such a facility as well as follow a process that includes at least one public hearing outlining the plan. The goal is to afford the host community and county, employees, public officials, local businesses, public safety officers and others to share their thoughts and ideas on the closure and importance of the facility.

Because these announcements follow a secretive decision-making process, no apparent effort has been made to explore alternate uses or ownership for these facilities. Compounding the problem, the very public detailing of the deficiencies in buildings and grounds is likely to complicate prospects for productive reuse.

Thus, the next necessary step involves trying to mitigate the economic and employment impacts on the affected communities. We are introducing legislation designed to help an at-risk community transition to a stable and perhaps growing post-closure economy. Local economic factors such as unemployment rate, median income, and the number of employees at the state facility would qualify a community for assistance. It would be available upon a closure announcement for any sizable state facility (not limited to those mentioned herein). An early retirement option would be offered for certain displaced workers.

Municipal recovery, sustained public safety, economic investment, fairness for workers, and stable tax collection are essential goals. The Commonwealth invested in these communities with the location of larger facilities, and we believe has an obligation to help the people and towns find a path forward for progress.

Thank you for your support of this important legislation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.



Document #1

Description: Document 1 will be the Community Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
 

Document #2

Description: Document 2 will be the Community Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- Early Retirement Option for Certain Displaced Workers.