Pritzker weighs in on death penalty debate; Rauner to spend night at veterans’ home

Governor Rauner’s death penalty proposal will come up on the House floor. The sponsor of the original bill that Rauner changed will accept the changes so Democrats and Republicans can debate the issue.

Debate over Governor Rauner’s push to reinstate the death penalty for mass killers and people who murder police officers has reached the campaign trail.

The governor added the proposal to a bill that would implement a 72-hour waiting period for people wanting to purchase an assault-style weapon.

Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker said he opposes reinstating the death penalty in Illinois.

"If you want to keep police officers safe, let’s get illegal guns off of the streets. Let’s get guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them," Pritzker said.

Governor Rauner was in Quincy on Wednesday managing fallout from the Legionnaires’ crisis there. Thirteen residents of the Illinois Veterans Home have died of the disease since 2015.

The state is partnering with the city of Quincy to dig a new deep well to provide cleaner water.

Also, the Rauner administration wants to build a new home for the veterans with new plumbing and piping. The price tag: $250 million. The legislature must approve the money.

"The bill should pass. There is no reason that we can’t make veterans our priority," Rauner said.

The Rauner administration submitted its plan two weeks ago leaving lawmakers with a month to act. Some Democrats say that’s not enough time to fully vet the administration’s plan. Pritzker said recently he would urge Democrats to give Rauner the money. But today he did not answer questions about whether he’s done that.

"It’s a political stunt for him to go to Quincy once again and hold press conferences and press availabilities at Quincy as if he’s doing something when we’re in year three now of very little getting done," Pritzker said,

It’s anyone guess whether the General Assembly will approve the $250 million by May 31. But today, the governor upped the pressure on lawmakers.

"We’ve had Democrats and Republicans in the state General Assembly say Quincy Veterans Home should stay open and be improved and they say they support it and they’ll make the money available. These have been statements publicly made. Let’s make sure that the deeds follow the words," Rauner said.

The governor is spending the night at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. He spent a week there back in January.