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Illinois Lawmakers React To Rauner-Backed Fixes For Quincy Vets' Home


Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration says a costly rebuild of the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy is the best way to get rid of Legionella bacteria linked to more than a dozen deaths there. While some state legislators support the move, others remain skeptical.

That fix is one of several detailed in a report delivered to legislators on Monday. It asks for as much as $245 million to build new living quarters, replace old pipes, and move residents to another nearby home while construction is going on.

A draft report in March called for the same things, but asked for $20 million more.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) heads the Senate Veterans Affairs committee. He says the numbers have wavered, and don’t add up.

“Looks like they need a bunch of money. If that was the case, they really could have asked me that in January," he explained. "I could have been asked to run a dollar amount at any point.”

While Democrats have been critical of the Governor’s handling of the outbreak, State Senator Jil Tracy, (R-Quincy) says she supports the report's fixes.

“I thought it looked like a well thought-out plan and I’m excited to see it move forward as quickly as possible," she said. "We need to be prepared and take every step we can to make sure that home is safe.”

The Rauner administration says the federal government could reimburse the state for much of the cost. Either way, the money will have to come from the state first, and the legislature has yet to set aside a single dollar.

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.