News Local/State

Lawmakers Send State-Nurse Protection Bill To Rauner

Head shot of Jerry Costello.

In this file photo, Illinois Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Red Bud, speaks to reporters at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday, May 10, 2016, in Springfield, Ill. Seth Perlman/AP

The Illinois General Assembly has sent legislation to Gov. Bruce Rauner that would prohibit further privatization of health care workers in state prisons.

Lawmakers sent the measure to Rauner Friday. It won House approval a day earlier 68-42.

Rep. Jerry Costello is the Smithton Democrat who sponsored it. It is in response to the Rauner administration's announcement that it would lay of 124 state-employed nurses in June.

Rauner would replace them with nurses hired by the private health care contractor.

Critics say there's a nursing shortage and prison jobs are harder to fill. They say Wexford Health Sources can't fill the vacant slots it has now.

Corrections says it'll save $8 million annually by privatizing the jobs.

Rauner's office did not respond Friday to a request for comment.