As state representatives and senators are home this weekend, they will be sure to hear about this one: a bill to take away free health care from state retirees. The bill, intended to save $900 million per year, passed the Senate Thursday with one vote more than the minimum needed for passage. It’s now up to the governor.
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Some lawmakers argued that revoking a benefit the retirees had been promised and are using is unfair, unconstitutional, or both. The state’s Department of Central Management Services would set the price of the premiums, and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), tries to calm people’s fears: “By going to a graduated schedule that would be negotiated through the collective bargaining process, we will ensure that it will be done based on the ability to pay,” he said.
S.B. 1313 has passed the Senate, 31-20-1, and goes to the governor.