Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon)
Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) spoke out against a bill that gives the governor the power to reverse decisions made by the Health Facilities and Services Review Board.
House Bill 123 was created in response to a hospital closing in the district of the legislation's sponsor, Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake). Demmer said he could appreciate Willis' efforts to support her communities but there was more to consider when making law.
"You’re doing a reversal of state law and then maybe doing a trailer bill," Demmer said. "We as the legislature have to understand what our role is in making state law. You’re making a change in this law to allow the governor to unilaterally reverse decisions. Look at the precedent we would set."
Demmer added that as members of the House, lawmakers have the responsibility to make sound public policy and not respond to singular issues by instituting sweeping changes to the Democratic process.
"We’ve established state law and boards to uphold that law and yet today this bill would deviate from that process and empower one person to make a decision," Demmer said. "Is this the kind of precedent that we want to set? This is inappropriate for the legislature."
The bill passed with 69 Yes votes and 35 No votes. The bill now goes on to the Senate and was referred to the Assignments Committee.
The bill amends the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act and provides that the governor can override decisions made by the Health Facilities and Services Review Board regarding an application for an exemption submitted under the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act.
The legislation also provides that if there is a pending lawsuit on the closure of a health care facility for which an application for an exemption is under review, the board must suspend any pending action involving that application until the resolution of the lawsuit.