When the phone rings in an Illinois lawmaker's district office, the topic is probably pensions.
“We just want to make sure that any reform that comes out is fair” to those depending on public pensions, said State Rep. Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville).
“If we need to come back, we need to come back until we have a bill that works for everyone in the state of Illinois,” said State Rep. Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago).
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While pensions have been the dominant topic in the legislature in 2013, it has not been the only one. “I have a pretty active constituency,” said State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago). “I've gotten several hundred to a thousand e-mails about pensions. I've gotten four or five thousand about (same-sex) marriage.”
And good ideas can come from anywhere, as first-term State Rep. Rob Martwick (D-Norridge) learned during a citizens' advisory meeting. “One of the provisions that a Chicago police officer brought to me at that meeting is now part of the concealed-carry legislation that I'm hopeful Gov. (Pat) Quinn will sign,” Martwick said. “That's the provision where anyone who has multiple arrests, there will be an automatic objection” to that person's concealed-carry application.
Lawmakers spent Wednesday at the Capitol for a special session on pensions and are expected back in July to vote on the bill that a conference committee draws up.