From January until just before Christmas, the Quincy Veterans’ Home spent nearly the entirety of 2018 in the headlines.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spent several days in the Quincy Veterans’ Home in January to get what he called a better understanding of the operations of the facility that had already seen more than a dozen deaths from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
After a number of reports were released, Rauner later signed legislation fast-tracking a $245 million project that would see the eventual demolition of the facility while moving its residents to a nearby facility that had closed in part because of the state’s budget impasse.
Later in the year, Illinois lawmakers overrode Rauner’s veto of a bill that raised the cap on awards through the Illinois Court of Claims, the body that takes cases from people who claim they’ve been wronged by the state. The bill increased the cap to $2 million, up from $100,000. Rauner wrote in his veto message that he wanted to make the cap $300,000.
Lawmakers said the state was negligent in the handling of the deaths. Rauner has denied the claim, but it dogged him all the way through his election loss, with frequent attacks from opponent J.B. Pritzker about the handling of the outbreak.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that her office was opening a criminal investigation of Rauner’s handling of the outbreak days before the election.