It appears Illinois lawmakers know the importance of public pension reform and they agree on a way to do it, the question now is when will they take action? Gov. Pat Quinn continues to tout Senate Bill #1 as a good vehicle for public pension reform. It builds on legislation from both chambers that failed to go anywhere in the Veto and Lame Duck Sessions.
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“Senate Bill 1, sponsored by the Senate President John Cullerton, is a way to get fundamental pension reform,” Quinn said. Senate Minority Leader, State Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), who appeared at an unrelated event with Quinn Thursday in Chicago, agrees. It’s going to be tough to pass anything but I think a lot of thought has been put into that particular proposal…I’m hopeful that we can get something moving,” Radogno said. Republicans have had concern about shifting the cost of school employee pensions from the state to school districts, but Radogno says leaders have agreed to put that aside for another day.
While there’s a general consensus on how to go about with pension reform, when will it happen? It’s still anyone’s guess. “The clock has been ticking,” Radogno said. Asked if lawmakers would tackle pensions later rather than sooner, Radogno said she hopes not. “We’ve passed many deadlines, the last minute is long gone, we have to make it happen now.”
The Senate is in session next week and SB1 is likely to be introduced into committee, according to Radogno.