SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois lawmakers are once again trying to break the budget stalemate.
The state has been operating without a budget since July 1 -- that's nearly four months. Protesters also briefly disrupted the state senate proceedings and were removed from the gallery.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is insisting that the legislature enact his "reform agenda," which includes curbing unions' power, before he signs a budget.
The return to Springfield comes a day after Fitch Ratings lowered the Illinois's bond status, citing the continued deterioration of the state's financial flexibility.
Governor Rauner issued a statement, saying, "It's time the legislature recognizes Illinois needs transformational change."
Just last week Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger announced that the state's monthly pension payment would be postponed.
The state is on course to run a multi-billion dollar deficit, and speaker Mike Madigan says he is still meeting with the governor to try to solve the budget stalemate.