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Wednesday, Jan 26, 2022

Petrella

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 Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature.

The Democratic governor, whose reelection campaign this year will face tough questions over his administration’s handling of a deadly 2020 coronavirus outbreak at a state-run veterans home in LaSalle, did not sign or veto the proposal within 60 days after it reached his desk, meaning it automatically becomes law.

Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said in a statement that the administration “worked closely with the sponsors … and he wholeheartedly supports the legislation becoming law.”

She blamed the missed signing deadline on “an internal miscommunication” after a planned signing ceremony was delayed due to the most recent COVID-19 surge. […]

[The law] creates a veterans’ accountability unit within the state VA, 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.

The last time I remember this sort of bungle happening was under Rod Blagojevich.

Where the heck is their legislative shop?

I mean, all those veterans died of COVID-19 in state homes on Pritzker’s watch and they can’t track the deadline on this bill?

The governor deserves whatever heat he gets on this from the Republican Party, and then some. Yes, all’s well that ends well. It’s law either way. But this is operationally inexcusable.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…

Illinois Senate Republican Deputy Leader Sue Rezin (R-Morris) issued the following statement after the Governor failed to act within 60 days on legislation that creates a veterans’ accountability unit within the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs due to an “internal miscommunication:”

“The Pritzker Administration has a history of making careless mistakes when caring for veterans with catastrophic consequences. Fortunately for them, this one didn’t lead to 36 veterans dying as we saw in late 2020 when the Pritzker Administration waited 11 days before providing crucial on-site assistance, leaving our nation’s heroes and employees defenseless.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** Rep. Dave Welter…

“Governor Pritzker’s woefully inadequate response to the deadliest outbreak at a state-run facility in Illinois history continues to fail our veterans by forgetting to sign a bill to provide accountability in the wake of the fatal COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home,” stated Rep. David Welter (R-Morris). “Fourteen months later, we continue to get the same excuse citing internal miscommunications from the Pritzker Administration, making us no more confident in the Governor’s ability to prioritize the health and well-being of our veterans.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** ILGOP…

“Why does JB Pritzker show such blatant disregard for the lives of veterans? After the tragedy at LaSalle, all veterans wanted was a proper way to voice their concerns about a state agency that made deadly mistakes – and JB Pritzker couldn’t even find the time to sign the bill. That’s shameful,” said ILGOP Chairman Don Tracy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

33 Comments
  1. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 2:13 am:

    === The last time I remember this sort of bungle happening was under Rod Blagojevich ===

    The last 18 months of the Rauner administration were a slow motion train wreck, from the Midnight Massacre to the Easy Rider Rally in Carbondale.


  2. - Charlie Wheeler - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 2:22 am:

    Historical note–

    If memory serves, several bills became law when Blagojevich missed the 60-day deadline for action. Rather than admit they messed up, his aides said the missed deadline was intentional, because the governor wanted to send a message to the sponsors. Unfortunately for Blago, most of the bills’ sponsors were members of the Latino Caucus, who understandably were not pleased at whatever vague “message” the governor was supposedly sending to the caucus and by extension Hispanic voters. Faced with strong blowback, Blago’s people finally ‘fessed up and admitted they had lost track of the “drop dead” date for the bills in the post-session shuffle, and so they became law without the governor’s signature, the first and only time that’s happened until now.

    To the Pritzker administration’s credit, they acknowledged up front they blew it. My guess is that won’t happen again.

    Respectfully,

    Charlie Wheeler


  3. - Bruce( no not him) - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 7:07 am:

    But, Siri didn’t remind me…


  4. - Rabid - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 7:19 am:

    A failure to communicate


  5. - Mischievous - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 8:16 am:

    Political malpractice. Back in the day, this would get someone demoted or even fired. But that kind of discipline now constitutes a hostile work environment. Maybe a Starbucks gift card or two will get revoked.


  6. - New Day - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 8:50 am:

    Yea, I get they blew the politics by not signing. But the bill is law so is it really that big a deal that they lost the PR benefit of their work?


  7. - just the facts - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 8:52 am:

    === Where the heck is their legislative shop? ===

    This administration doesn’t invest in developing relationships with legislative members or staff. The pandemic didn’t help. They have one of the best legislative directors out there but she’s neutered without staff or ability to direct agencies to do their jobs.


  8. - TNR - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:00 am:

    == lost the PR benefit ==

    Good point. Which means the comms shop should have been tracking this bill, too. And given that the vet home problem will be a campaign issue, you’d think someone on the political side would be paying attention to the bill as well. A big miss on multiple levels.


  9. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:07 am:

    ===The Pritzker Administration has a history of making careless mistakes when caring for veterans with catastrophic consequences.===

    Someone had better check with Representative Rezin to confirm that she understands that by failing to sign the law it has the exact same impact as signing the law — since the matter becomes law in both cases.

    However that does appear to be the kind of reflection that a representative that actively advocated against COVID-19 mitigation efforts while being upset at community spread of the virus at a state facility in her district is capable of.

    The GOP is focused on denying or ignoring their culpability. I’m not sure how receptive the voting public will be to a Pro-COVID-19 legislator being upset at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue has yet to actually be ballot tested in Illinois.


  10. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:07 am:

    Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:07 am:

    Was me


  11. - DisappointedVoter - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:10 am:

    I get the frustration but the legislation is still law so…


  12. - ChrisB - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:20 am:

    To borrow a basketball phrase, “You gotta make your bunnies.”


  13. - Oops - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:23 am:

    But, but the Republicans……No, this is on the Governor and his staff. They blew it, but thankfully the legislation didn’t need his signature. Sure would’ve looked better with his signature on it though.


  14. - Derek Smalls - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:24 am:

    Astounded that Team JB whiffed on this. The law is no less a law because he didn’t sign it, but it invites further criticism. Nothing like giving your opponents new content for the coming attack ads.


  15. - Curious Lurker - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:42 am:

    The GO leg shop has been hallowed. Even before the director went on maternity leave, her ability to be effective was handcuffed by the structure of the office. They need more staff and more integrated structures. When these things happen it is a failure across multiple fronts. Did the DVA leg team track this and raise it to their Director or DG? Were advocates or the sponsors pushing for a timeline on signature? There are multiple ways for information to flow and ensure these mistakes don’t happen.


  16. - Franklin - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:44 am:

    Maybe if he tripled his staff salary out of his own pocket he would get better work product?


  17. - OMG - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:44 am:

    Yellow Dog has a good point, the short term memory loss of the wreckage we went through during the Rauner years is completely baffling. Anyone that acted like that was ok, but has something to say now, while navigating a pandemic - can go pound sand.


  18. - cover - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:47 am:

    = the first and only time that’s happened until now =

    If I recall the reporting at the time, Blago’s failure to act on bills was the first time it had happened since Gov. Horner was seriously ill in 1940.


  19. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:56 am:

    This is going to sound heartless, but it’s just an observation.

    =ability to prioritize the health and well-being of our veterans=

    1. What efforts did the local authorities undertake to protect veterans. The county states attorney and county sheriff were out enforcing the mask requirements in those areas, right?

    2. If there was ever a time for this to happen, it is when the opposition has been pounding on the drumhead of keeping everything fully open with no restrictions so they can go drink at a bar every night.

    I just can’t take serious anyone who is pretending to care about death now, after they’ve been flippantly dismissing such things for the past two years with statements like “death comes for us all” as reasons to resist any mitigation efforts at all.


  20. - Captain Obvious - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 10:00 am:

    You need more staff to handle a simple calendaring issue? There must be hundreds of apps for that. And it is one of the main duties of the governor. Put a reminder alarm on your phone Jay Bob.


  21. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 10:10 am:

    =an internal miscommunication=

    In the words of Zeppelin ” Communication breakdown, it’s always the same”


  22. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 10:36 am:

    ===That’s shameful,” said ILGOP Chairman Don Tracy.===

    Since the GOP Chairperson has found the time to be able to comment on veterans related issues, perhaps now is a good time for him to address the fact that a candidate for Governor and a candidate for congress in primaries for the upcoming general election have taking to LARPing as veterans in order to mislead voters into thinking that they’ve served in the United States Armed Services instead of making a six figure income as a civilian contractor who got to decide when they would get to leave.


  23. - SuburbanRepublican - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:09 am:

    @ Candy Dogood

    Senator Rezin*


  24. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:10 am:

    I get it, mistakes happen. But how many bills were they tracking for signature? And after all the criticism of Rauner for treatment at Vet homes, plus the COVID issue at the Vet home under his watch you would think this would have been taken care of quickly and with great fanfare.


  25. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:25 am:

    “The county states attorney and county sheriff were out enforcing the mask requirements in those areas, right?”

    Um. No. There were explicit statements by the SA and Sheriff that they were not going to enforce Pritzker’s executive orders.


  26. - King Louis XVI - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:28 am:

    –This administration doesn’t invest in developing relationships with legislative members or staff.–

    A polite way of saying they don’t return phone calls, answer emails, respond to letters and routinely blow off hearings.


  27. - Lurker - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:34 am:

    You do nothing on a bill that was created because you did nothing. OUCH


  28. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 12:01 pm:

    @Huh?

    That’s my point. And it’s why I don’t take any of these crocodile tears from them seriously.


  29. - Red Ketcher - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 12:12 pm:

    Screwups aside , It is hoped the Veteran’s Accountability Unit idea works. And that Complaints and Concerns are properly addressed and resolved.


  30. - Perrid - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    Just have to laugh at the piranhas descending in a feeding frenzy. Tripping over themselves. Is it really that much to ask politicians to be honest? To respond to something the same way you would whether the mistake came from your party or the opposing party?


  31. - Early Illinoisan - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 3:24 pm:

    Gov. Edgar’s legislative shop had an internal system in place that among other things placed a red flag drop dead date on bills that was actually 5 days before the real one so that things like this did not happen. Earlier Governor’s may have done the same thing. Not sure.


  32. - 2 points - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 7:38 pm:

    I’m a Dem and a Veteran.
    After VA homes debacle, now his name NOT on this law; JB gets no credit.

    To call this “a PR benefit” is insulting at best. Do better Illinoisans.


  33. - Citizen Kane - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:10 pm:

    Governor’s Office was adamately against a IDVA OIG Bill and forced this change to an “Accountability Unit.” Foolish given all the problems the IDVA has had over the last decade. Pritzker fumbled the veteran football every opportunity that presented itself.


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