With a new legislature in place, some lawmakers have hope there can be compromise on public pension reform. State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), the House majority leader, says pension reform remains the House speaker’s top priority. She says there is much hope that a compromise can be reached.
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“We are, I think all of us, looking for something that reflects enough compromise that we can get 60 votes in the House and 30 votes in the Senate,”Currie said. She says that the shift of pension costs to local school districts that the speaker had pushed will remain tabled so a compromise can be reached, but she says it must be addressed at some point.
Meanwhile, the Senate has already drafted a pension reform bill. Unlike a previous bill, S.B. 1 is said to include more compromises. State Sen. Mike Frehrichs (D-Champaign) likes the idea of two bills, one originating in the House and one in the Senate, so that should one be declared unconstitutional, another would remain in place. “I think there is a possibility,” Frehrichs said. “I think the Senate president has proposed putting the two concepts together in the same bill, and then if the Supreme Court rules part of it unconstitutional you have that backup of the other one being there.”
Any pension reform bill will be challenged in court. Lawmakers failed to pass pension reform in the Lame Duck Session, putting the state’s bond rating at risk.