Pension reform tops the list of the two leaders in the Illinois House and Senate, who gave speeches after new and returning members were sworn in Wednesday. Once the pomp and circumstance faded, the two leaders had tough love for their members, reminding them the next two years won’t be easy.
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“Nobody doubts that Illinois is suffering under a severe fiscal crisis,” said House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago). His counterpart across the aisle, House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego), reflected Madigan’s tone. “We’re facing challenges in this state that we haven’t seen, as a General Assembly, since the Great Depression,” said Cross.
In the Illinois Senate, President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) told his members that just because they have enough lawmakers to pass legislation without Republican “yes” votes – doesn’t mean lawmakers won’t have to make tough votes on tough issues. Democrats hold majorities of 71-47 in the Illinois House and 40-19 in the Senate.