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Officer Down

Thursday, May 2, 2013

BREAKING PENSION NEWS: Madigan pension reforms pass House

--I am not surprised that this passed the House. Whatever Madigan wants, Madigan gets.
I am surprised that this bill began as Senate Bill 1 and passed by John Cullerton and the Illinois Senate but it has been completely rewritten by Madigan's House Amendment 1, and now Cullerton is suddenly proposing another bill in the Senate.
This means that Senate Bill 1 will not pass a Senate vote (on the amended bill) and the "fight" will be on between the two chambers to just stall the issue even longer.
This is just typical Illinois politics. Going in circles while the employees and tax payers do nothing but spin in the middle.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Ray Long and Rafael Guerrero
Clout Street
3:16 PM CDT, May 2, 2013

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House today approved a far-reaching pension reform plan pushed by Speaker Michael Madigan that is headed for an uncertain fate in the Senate.

The proposal aims to erase the state's nearly $100 billion pension debt by scaling back cost-of-living increases, raising the retirement age for young workers and requiring employees to take more out of their paychecks. It applies to Downstate and suburban teachers, rank-and-file state employees, legislators and university employees.

“The time has come for this bill,” said Madigan, D-Chicago.

The bill passed 62-51, with two voting present. It needed 60 votes to pass the House. The bill now goes to the Senate, where a similar bill failed earlier this spring.

Rep. Elaine Nekritz, the Northbrook Democrat who leads Madigan’s caucus on pension issues, said the legislation strikes a balance that will be upheld in court because the state is on an untenable, expensive path on government worker pensions.

“It’s not a sustainable path for us. It simply doesn’t work,” Nekritz said.

Anticipating a legal challenge from unions, Madigan explained that if the bill becomes law, there likely would be a court order that would require the state to keep up the current payment schedule until the pension measure is resolved in court. The speaker has said he expects the legislation to pass the Senate and be upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Republican leader Tom Cross of Oswego supported the measure but said the teachers and other workers paid into the system on time with “every expectation” that they would get the benefits they were promised.

“In many ways, we owe those folks an apology from (the) General Assembly,” Cross said.

But, Cross said, “We have no choice. We have to move forward today.”

The son of teachers, Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, gave a rousing speech in which he called for lawmakers to protect future generations.

“We got sent here to fix problems,” Bradley said.