WEST SENECA, N.Y. — A local lawmaker is once again calling on Gov. Cuomo to keep open the Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center, and using public opinion to make the case.
Assemblyman Mickey Kearns says he's collected 10,000 signatures from people who want to see the facility remain in West Seneca. He's sending a letter to the governor urging him to consider the public support.
The state plans to move young patients to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, where adults are currently treated. Opponents of that plan say having them on the same campus is a bad idea.
Led by Kearns and Sen. Pat Gallivan, the state legislature unanimously passed a bill in June requiring the WNY Children's Psychiatric Center to stay separate. Now, the lawmakers are preparing to take it to the governor to sign or veto the bill.
"We wanted to prove to the governor that there is significant support. Tomorrow will mark 50 days since we started this campaign and it's been remarkable when you think that we're averaging over 200 responses per day," Kearns said.
Kearns says if the governor vetoes the bill, they're considering a vote in the legislature to override the decision. That would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the Senate and the Assembly.
Meanwhile, a group of advocates is suing Cuomo and the state's mental health commissioner in another effort to keep the center where it is. The lawsuit is expected to continue in court next month.