* Letter to the House Speaker’s chief of staff…
Chief of Staff Jessica Basham
300 Capitol Building, Springfield, IL 62706 (delivered via electric deliveiy)
Re: Subject Matter Hearing regarding the LaSalle Veterans Home COVID Outbreak
Dear Ms. Basham:
As Chair of the Illinois House Veterans Affairs committee, I am requesting an in-person meeting of the Committee for a Subject Matter Hearing regarding the LaSalle Veterans Home COVID Outbreak.
With the failure of SB 2135 (by one vote) on May 23, 2020, the Illinois House of Representatives is unable to conduct committee hearings in a remote virtual setting, such as Zoom. As we have seen over the summer months the Illinois State Senate, through legislation that successfully passed the Senate in May, has been able to conduct joint subject matter hearings with various House committees.
Over the weeks since the outbreak was discovered, I have requested on numerous occasions, to include the Illinois House Veterans Affairs committee in Senate Subject Matt er hearings. Joint Veterans Affairs meetings have been held in the past, most notably addressing the Quincy Home Outbreak.
The Illinois House Veterans Affairs committee needs to properly discharge the duties it is established to do. For the reasons: (1) the failure of SB 2135, (2) the denial of the Senate Veterans Affairs committee chair to allow members of the Illinois House Veterans affairs committee to participate, and (3) the extreme concern and mourning of the death of 30 Veterans in the LaSalle Veterans Home by myself and members of the committee, I have no other choice but to call for an in-person Subject Matter Hearing of the Illinois House Veterans Affairs committee during this global pandemic.
I realize it will be challenging and costly to ensure that all the proper health protocols are in place to provide for a safe environment for us to conduct business. As Chair of the committee, I will be requiring that all committee members be COVID-19 tested prior to the committee date, all members will be requir ed to wear a mask, and I am requesting that all other details regarding the meetin g adhere to the COVID safety guidelines by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control.
Thank you for your assistance with this request. I am requesting that this meeting be scheduled as quickly as possible given the seriousness of the LaSalle Veteran Home situation.
*** UPDATE *** From Rep. Kifowit…
As you posted we are in a position to only have an in-person meeting. This comes at the conclusion of a week of trying to work with the Senate collaboratively, to no avail. I would like to thank Rep Thapedi for his inquiry as well. The situation is multi-dimensional and I believe his committee will look at this situation through a different lens of the Judiciary - Civil Committee. While in some areas might overlap, it is worthy of inquiry and I welcome it. I have spoken to staff and we will be posting the meeting as soon as we can confirm a reasonable date to ensure all protocols can be followed for the safety of all involved.