Quinn, lawmakers make small steps toward pension reform

With time running out and the bills piling up,. Gov. Pat Quinn and state legislative leaders again tried to work out a desperately-needed plan for pension reform.

House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and Governor Pat Quinn met at the Thompson Center on Monday. Afterwards, Cullerton said they made progress.

“The Governor and I are now going to try to pass the original Senate Bill1. We`re hoping the Republicans will now support it. That would be a big help in passing the bill,” Cullerton said.

The two earlier competing versions of the bill would be combined into one new bill.

“We would have a bill similar to the one the speaker has passed in the house and that would be a version of the bill that we pass out of the senate and try to put that in the same bill,” Cullerton explained.  “We will see if we can pass that out of the senate and probably delay the effective that would require 30-votes.  We will make that attempt.”

“Both bills should be passed,” Speaker Madigan said. “The Governor should get to work between now and the date for the special session.  He`s got plenty of time to meet with these individual senators and persuade them that this is the time to step up and help the state of Illinois and vote yes.’

But Quinn is still pointing at Springfield as being the problem and  said his hands are tied. He said he can`t sign anything until the measure is first created in Springfield and voted upon by the legislators. He said the people of Illinois are depending on their elected officials to compromise.

“They need their leaders to do their jobs,” Quinn said. “My job is to sign the pension reform bill into law. Their job, Mike Madigan and John Cullerton and all the members of the general assembly, is to pass it and put it on my desk.”

So while they may have taken baby steps today, pension reform in Illinois still has a way to go.

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