VAN DREW CONTINUES FIGHT TO SAVE VINELAND DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER : News Room : The Van Drew Team for Change : Jeff Van Drew, Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land
VAN DREW CONTINUES FIGHT TO SAVE VINELAND DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER
VINELAND — The bill that could still save the east campus of the Vineland Developmental Center remains on the governor’s desk.With Gov. Chris Christie on vacation all of last week, as well as this week, the governor’s chief council and legal team are left to review the legislation in advance of his decision, said Sen. Jeff Van Drew on Monday.“We’re moving in a positive direction with it,” said Van Drew, who introduced the bill, which would create a task force on the state’s seven developmental centers.“There hasn’t been a commitment from the governor, but I’ve been discussing it with his team and I think we’re going in a good direction.”Van Drew had previously stated language referring to the closure of the VDC east campus was taken out of the budget before the Legislature approved it.However, that change was line-item vetoed by Christie before he signed it.The VDC’s last chance seems to be this bill.If signed, the legislation could delay, or even stop, the Vineland Developmental Center’s closure.The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 32-6, and the Assemblyman by a vote of 74-0, with two abstentions.However, while Christie may ultimately decide to sign it into law, the governor may seek changes to the legislation.As it stands now, the bill would create an 11-member task force to review and prepare a plan for the future of state developmental centers.After six months, the task force would issue their findings on all seven developmental centers in the state.The task force would be required to hold at least three public meetings, one in each of the southern, central and northern regions of the state.Under the bill, the task force plan may provide for facility closures in an orderly manner that complies with the U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision. Olmstead requires that a person with a developmental disability receive services in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the person’s needs.According to Van Drew, Christie may “amend or change the make-up” of the task force.To do that, the governor would have issue a “conditional veto,” sending the bill back to the Legislature, which would then make the requested changes before forwarding it back to Christie.
“Bills passed by the legislature have 45 days to be signed by the governor,” said Van Drew. “If nothing happens in 45 days, then it becomes law, so we’ll know what’s going to happen by the end of the summer.”