Citing the ongoing ethics crisis in state government, schools struggling to reopen this fall, and questions over the handling of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, State Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) has formally asked both the Governor and Senate President to call for a special legislative session immediately.
“The House Speaker is under criminal investigation, our schools are dealing with the very-real threat of lawsuits, and the Governor is shuffling around the people responsible for the problematic handling of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” said State Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo). “In short, our state is in crisis, and the members of the legislature should be at the Capitol working to deal with these very serious issues.”
The Senator outlined his concerns to the Governor and Senate President in a letter (attached) sent today calling on them to order a special session. He specifically cited the recent admissions of wrong doing in a massive corruption investigation centering around House Speaker Mike Madigan, which have severely shaken the confidence of citizens in their government. Legislative leaders have repeatedly stalled calls for action on reforms such as redistricting reforms, term limits for leaders, and changes to rules allowing legislation to receive up or down votes.
He also noted the growing chorus of concerns over COVID-19 lawsuits aimed at schools. While the Governor provided immunity to hospitals via executive order, he has so far refused to offer the same help to schools which are already overwhelmed with the attempt to restart education in the fall. Additionally, as the Governor has unilaterally led COVID-19 response efforts via executive orders, meaning that major issues, such as troubling outbreaks of COVID-19 at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, have had no legislative oversight or input.
“The members of the General Assembly were elected by the people we represent to make government work for them, to tackle corruption, and to offer local input on major issues,” said State Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo). “But there is little that lawmakers can do when they aren’t allowed to convene, hold hearings and discussions, and vote on these issues. We need to be back in Springfield immediately.”