Some local legislators vote against approved pension deal

By WEEK Producer

Some local legislators vote against approved pension deal

December 3, 2013 Updated Dec 3, 2013 at 11:46 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill -- A pension deal is on the way to the governor's desk, but it was far from an overwhelming majority that sent it there.

House Speaker Mike Madigan says the Illinois Pension reform bill brings needed change and protects long term low income state workers.

"This bill is a well thought out balanced response to the problem," Madigan said.

The House and Senate both approved Senate Bill 1 late Tuesday afternoon,but the vote did not come before a long debate.

"I don't want to be here in three weeks if the numbers don't work out," said State Representative Dave McSweeny.

McSweeny, like several other opponents, questioned whether or not the legislation would save the state billions of dollars and challenged it's legality.

Following the vote, in a news conference, Governor Pat Quinn said he was inspired by the bi-partisan conference committee work.

"I think they really did a great job over the summer and into the fall at really narrowing the issues and articulating what had to be done," said Quinn. "I think all of those leaders deserve a great deal of credit."

While both chambers approved the bill, some Central Illinois legislators voted against it.

State Representative Keith Sommer of Morton said, ""I have concerns about how there were changes to current treatment of employees versus retirees."

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth voted "present," meaning she did not take a side.

"This is not a perfect bill," Gordon-Booth said, "but I do think that had retirees been exempted, it would've been a much better bill."

Governor Pat Quinn said he is not sure when the bill will reach his desk, but he promises to sign it.