Veterans and others who have complaints about the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs will have a new outlet to voice their concerns under a state law that’s going into effect without the governor’s signature.
Dan Petrella of the Chicago Tribune reports that Governor J.B. Pritzker failed to sign or veto a proposed law that creates a veteran’s accountability unit within IDVA with a director to be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. While it will operate independently of the department, the new unit will be funded out of the agency’s budget. A bill that is passed by the General Assembly and fails to receive action by the governor within 60 days automatically becomes law.
Pritzker’s Communication Director Jordan Abudayyeh said in a statement to the Tribune that Pritzker worked with the sponsors and that he supports the legislation becomes law. Abuddayeh blamed the missed signing deadline on “an internal miscommunication” after a planned signing ceremony was delayed due to the most recent COVID-19 surge.
State Republicans have been extremely loud in their opposition towards the Pritzker Administration’s handling of the IDVA, especially after a covid outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home killed 36 residents in late 2020, eventually leading to IDVA Director Linda Chapa La Via’s resignation in January of last year.
A press release by Republican Illinois Senator Sue Rezin of Morris yesterday says Pritzker’s failure to act on the bill was another incident of “the Pritzker Administration’s history of making careless mistakes when caring for veterans.”
Pritzker blasted former Governor Bruce Rauner during his gubernatorial campaign in 2018 due to Rauner’s handling of the outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease at the Quincy Veterans Home in the Fall of 2015.