With the Senate poised to look at the recently passed pension reform bill as early as Tuesday, Gov. Pat Quinn continues to hold hope that a bill both chambers can agree on will be on his desk soon.   The Senate bill, which passed in the House Thursday after amendments were made, now heads back to the Senate where lawmakers will decide if it is worthy of a vote. Quinn says he has been in talks with Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) about SB1.
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“He told me that they’re going to have a caucus on Tuesday and he’s going to present the product of the House…and I’m confident that we will get pension reform this year, sooner rather than later. We want to get it on my desk so we can sign it into law,” Quinn said Friday in Chicago.  There is, however, always a chance that lawmakers won’t see eye to eye and pension reform could again be put off. Cullerton is negotiating his own bill with the unions. Unlike SB1 which makes outright cuts to benefits, Cullerton’s bill would give retirees a choice. While there haven’t been many specifics about the bill, in the past Cullerton has supported a plan to give retirees the option of giving up healthcare or scaling back pension benefits. He believes that by offering a choice, the bill would hold up if challenged in court.  Asked about Cullerton’s bill, Quinn says all voices on the matter are welcome to be heard.
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