The Illinois House adopted a resolution last month designating October of this year as “Zombie Preparedness Month.”
The living-dead-legislation, sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, encourages Illinoisans to learn about natural disasters and take steps toward stockpiling three days worth of emergency rations.
“I am told that if you are prepared for zombies, then you would be prepared to deal with a natural disaster like tornadoes, blizzards, natural disasters of any kind,” Welch said on the House floor in February. “You would have proper food storage, you would’ve identified a place where you would go for shelter and you’d be prepared for a natural disaster.”
Before opening the floor up to other lawmakers, Rep. Lou Lang noted that the resolution “awakened various zombies in the chamber.”
State Rep. Steven Andersson jokingly asked Welch which zombies the state is defending against, citing monsters from a pair of television shows. Andersson noted that zombies from “Z Nation” are fast and smart, while zombies from “The Walking Dead” are slow, but overpowering.
“I’m talking about preparation for all zombies,” Welch responded. “If you’re prepared for all zombies, you’re prepared for a natural disaster."
Rep. Grant Wehrli, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said he appreciates the resolution's good humor and aim, noting that the measure is a “good thing.”
“It’s not when things go well that we need a plan, it’s when things go off the rails,” Wehrli said.
Additionally, Rep. William Davis asked why the state was equating natural disasters to a zombie apocalypse, which typically means a cataclysmic, “end of the world” event. He pressed the resolution's sponsor on whether this was a fair comparison.
In response, Welch said the goal was to use the allusion to grab and direct Illinoisans' attention to a worthy cause.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jeanne Ives slammed members of the Illinois House for focusing on “fun and games,” instead of the state’s ongoing budget impasse.
“This bill is incredibly misplaced at a time when our budget is in such dire straits,” Ives said, pointing to the state’s struggling economy.
“This may sound like fun, but if you’re really concerned about disaster, the natural disaster that’s happening in Illinois is all economic and it’s all our doing," she added. “And actually with the right policies in places, we can change this disaster into a real benefit. So let’s get to work on the real stuff instead of bills like this."
At the end of the floor debate, Welch also called for budget action, stressing the importance of his resolution.
“If we need to do something like Zombie Preparedness Month to get people’s attention to an important issue like preparing for a natural disaster, then so be it,” he said.