June 13 2013
During the upcoming special session, the Illinois House will not consider the Senate’s pension reform bill. Instead, the chamber will consider an amendment to SB 2404 introduced by House Speaker Michael Madigan Wednesday.
The amendment gets rid of the union-supported choice given to pensioners in the Senate bill and puts the House’s plan on benefits in its place. “This is consistent with the plan the House is continuing to urge adoption of,” said Steve Brown, Madigan’s spokesman. “The speaker said very clearly the other day the better of the options is the bill that the House passed. Those have the most savings to attack the problem in the most comprehensive way.”
The House plan raises the retirement age, slashes cost-of-living adjustments and raises employees’ contributions, all while failing to give pensioners a choice. The Senate bill saves less money than the House bill, but offers pensioners a choice. Because of the choice, Cullerton believes his chamber’s bill will be able to withstand a legal battle over constitutionality.
Additionally, Cullerton’s office says Madigan should be giving the House the chance to consider the Senate’s bill, just as the Senate considered the House package. The House never voted on the Senate’s original bill, while the Senate voted down the House package.
“I’m quite sure there are a number of representatives who would like the opportunity to vote on the original Senate bill,” Rikeesha Phelon, Cullerton’s spokesperson, said. “Members of the House should have that opportunity. Senators were certainly given the chance to vote on the House pension bill.”
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