--This is the part where they start trying to confuse everyone, especially the tax payers.
The go from doing nothing to throwing a bunch of crap out into the fray and see what they can sneak past everyone.
Please read these updates and make the appropriate calls to your state representative and senator.--
From WE ARE ONE - ILLINOIS
While an amendment to increase employee contributions by 3% failed to pass, the House did pass two pension-cutting bills, outlined below. The bills now move to the Senate:
HB 1154 puts a cap on the amount of salary that qualifies for a pension. The vote was 100-16 and is available to view by clicking here.
HB 1166 increases retirement ages anywhere from one to five years. (Employees under age 35 would face a five-year increase, employees between age 35 and 40 would face a three-year increase, and employees between age 40 and 45 would face a one-year increase.) The vote was 72-45 and is available to view by clicking here.
The House Personnel and Pensions Committee also reported HB 3411, also known as the "Nekritz-Biss-Cross" bill. HB 3411 now moves to the House floor and could be voted on at any time. (For information on HB 3411, read the description of SB 35 below -- the bills are identical.)
THURSDAY UPDATE, 10:30 a.m.: The Senate Executive Subcommittee on Special Issues approved HB 3162 -- the coalition-supported bill. HB 3162 could be heard before the full Senate Executive Committee next week. Today's action now moves to the House -- stay tuned for updates.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The Senate Executive Committee approved two bills opposed by the coalition -- SB 35 and SB 1. These bills could be called for a full Senate vote at any time. Urge your state senators to oppose these two bills. Click here to call your legislator.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE WEEK'S BILLS
The Illinois legislature will be considering a variety of pension-related measures in committees and maybe even on the floor this week. Some bills have the coalition's support -- such as SB 2404 and HB 3162. However, other bills would unjustly and illegally cut the hard-earned benefits of public employees and retirees -- such as SB 35, SB 1, and HB 3411.
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Read on for a full update!
Possible Senate Action
The Senate Executive Committee meets at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13. It may vote on three measures:
SB 35 is opposed by the coalition. It would delay COLAs and cap them at very low levels, increase retirement ages, and increase employee contributions without an ironclad funding guarantee from the state. Further, SB 35 would force new hires in TRS and SURS into a 401(k)-hybrid retirement account. That means half of these individuals' retirement security would be directly exposed to the risks of the market, even though participants in TRS and SURS are not eligible for Social Security. Final Status for the Week: Approved by committee and could be voted on the Senate floor at any time.
SB 1 is opposed by the coalition. It consists of two parts. Part A contains all of the provisions mentioned above as SB 35. If Part A is found unconstitutional, Part B goes into effect. Under Part B, workers and retirees would be forced to choose between (1) a COLA that would reduce a pension's value by one-third after twenty years or (2) no access to health care in retirement. Final Status for the Week: Approved by committee and could be voted on the Senate floor at any time.
SB 2404 is supported by the coalition. It contains an ironclad funding guarantee, dedicated revenue to pay down the state's pension debt, and shared sacrifice. Retirees would not be impacted. You can read more about it by clicking this link. Final Status for the Week: Approved by committee and could be heard in full Senate Executive Committee next week.
SB 35 and SB 1 are unfair to public servants who faithfully paid into the pension systems, even as the state skimped on or skipped payments. Further, the coalition believes SB 35 and SB 1 are unconstitutional and will be overturned by the courts -- kicking the can down the road and worsening Illinois' fiscal problems. Alternatively, SB 2404 is a fair, constitutional way to address the state's chronic pension underfunding. Urge your state senators to oppose SB 35 and SB 1 and support SB 2404 instead.
Possible House Action
In the House, it is unclear what bills will be considered and what pension "test votes" will be taken this Thursday. It is possible that at least two major bills could see action in House Personnel and Pensions Committee, scheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m. The coalition opposes HB 3411, which is identical to SB 35 (described above). The coalition supports HB 3162, which is identical to SB 2404 (described above). In addition, "test votes" could be held on increasing retirement ages and increase employee contributions by 3% without an ironclad guarantee. Urge your House legislators to oppose HB 3411 and support HB 3162. Final Status for the Week: The House approved HB 3411 in committee, and it could be voted on the House floor at any time. The House also approved HB 1154 (caps pensionable salary) and HB 1166 (increases retirement ages).