SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Governor Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 2481 after 5:00 p.m. this past Friday. Senate Bill 2481 would have increased the awards cap from $100,000 to $2 million in tort cases before the Court of Claims. The bill included an effective date which would have allowed victims of the Legionnaires Disease outbreak at the Quincy Veterans Home to file suit.
In response to the amendatory veto, House Sponsor Representative Al Riley stated, “The Governor’s amendatory veto continues to show his callous disregard for the veterans who lost their lives under the care of the state”. “What more do people need to see from him”, said Riley. “His “let them eat cake” increase of the awards cap to $300,000 still puts Illinois around the lowest in the entire country”, says Riley. “The Governor also needs to stay away from statistical terms in his veto message where he called our proposed cap an outlier”. “An outlier is an extreme value”. “The proposed $2 million dollar cap in the bill still would have had 17 states above Illinois that have no cap at all for tort cases”, said Riley. “As I have said from the beginning, Senate Bill 2481 does not automatically award the grieving families anything”. “They would still have to file a lawsuit and win. If they won their lawsuit, the court would still have to award a settlement”. “It’s just that the court would have a larger range to consider for the eventual award”, said Riley. “We could then believe that these heroes’ lives, although priceless, would be worth more to their families than the current $100,000 or the $300,000 that the Governor is proposing”, says Rep. Riley.
“If he was so worried about the state’s fiscal condition, then he would have passed a budget in a timely manner in the last three years”, Riley said. “Because of his lack of action, taxpayers are now footing the $1 billion cost of late fees on the State’s unpaid bills”. “To trot out the old amorphous terms “taxpayers” and “frivolous lawsuits” as a reason for vetoing this bill insults the families of those who were hurt or died under that state’s care, certainly at Quincy”. “Their suits would be worthy, and they most certainly are taxpayers”.
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