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*** UPDATED x1 *** Kifowit requests in-person hearing for her House Veterans Affairs committee

Friday, Dec 4, 2020

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

14 Comments
  1. - Just asking - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:25 pm:

    Maybe Kifowit can bring some soup made from the broth of COVID to the hearing…


  2. - Inverted Pyramid - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    The Other Speaker Candidate’s response to being one-upped by Rep. Thapedi.


  3. - Cool Papa Bell - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    Set it up on the floor of the BOS Center or in the McCormick Place.. Keep everyone 20 feet apart. It can be done and done safely.


  4. - 47th Ward - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    They should do it on-site at the LaSalle Veterans Home. Then maybe they’d be forced to do more than talk about it and/or point fingers. And if every committee member and witness brought some bleach wipes and effective hand sanitizer we could make some progress and slowing the spread there.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    === They should do it on-site at the LaSalle Veterans Home. Then maybe they’d be forced to do more than talk about it and/or point fingers. And if every committee member and witness brought some bleach wipes and effective hand sanitizer we could make some progress and slowing the spread there.===

    This is spot on good.

    I remember during the campaign the idea of Rauner even stepping into Quincy was a big deal,

    Ok, let’s hold accountable, and have it close… or explain why you can’t… to those there.


  6. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    Does Kifowit know that a resolution isn’t “legislation”? I guess this is being pedantic, but it’s internal Senate rules, not the law of the land.


  7. - Truth - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    ^^^^ y’all think it would be good idea to bring 20 people to a facility where they are trying desperately to prevent the spread of a contagious virus? Seriously?


  8. - Frumpy White Guy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:11 pm:

    Respectfully, she has gone a bit of a wacko on this one.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    === ^^^^ y’all think it would be good idea to bring 20 people to a facility where they are trying desperately to prevent the spread of a contagious virus? Seriously?===

    I’d like them to answer the question… why it’s impossible.

    It’s obvious why it’s impossible, but say it aloud, and have Director Chapa LaVia concur to the why.


  10. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    Will the public be allowed to attend?

    Will public attendance be limited, and if so to what number?

    Have you consulted with IDPH and ACLU?


  11. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:27 pm:

    Thomas Paine:

    https://capitolfax.com/2020/07/15/house-issues-new-protocols-for-committee-hearings/


  12. - dbk - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    This is a bit, well, pointless now.

    It’s not that hard to understand, at least in semi-specific outline, what happened at the LaSalle VA Home. There was lax enforcement of basic measures, there was community spread that made its way into the home via infected staff, and there was clearly hesitation to declare an emergency early on (as was the case with the Quincy VA home).

    Nationwide, around 40% of all COVID-19 deaths are to date attributable to nursing home (staff, residents). The outbreak at LaSalle was predictable and, with forethought and proleptic action, preventable.

    What needs to be done right now has to do with public health measures for vulnerable populations living in congregate settings, not with the IL House holding hearings on what’s already happened.


  13. - Not for nothing - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    The House Dems look forward to electing a speaker who can’t quarterback a joint subject matter only with the senate.


  14. - Citizen Kane - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:53 pm:

    Glad the House Veterans Affairs Committee will be looking into this as well. It’s a shame we haven’t seen more action from the IDVA or the Governor’s Office. Neither have tried in the least to get in front of this or instill confidence.


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