General Assembly to reconvene Tuesday for annual veto session

By WEEK Reporter

November 26, 2012 Updated Nov 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill -- The Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield Tuesday for the annual veto session and there's a lot the House and Senate may consider.

However, there's a pretty good chance some issues won't be taken up until January.

The big issue for the General Assembly to consider is Pension reform. Now, talks are taking place behind the scenes to work out that deal which would cut the state's liability but not hurt retirees.

"I would like to see something that would not penalize people who are not getting that much in their pensions," said Representative Dave Leitch, (R)73rd District.

"There are those at the bottom end of the system that need to be protected. So let's do it," said Senator Dave Koehler, (D) 46th District.

"I think there are reasonable solutions out there, like increasing the retirement age from 50 or 55 to 65, 67, capping the amount anyone can make, like legislators or anyone is the system," said Senator Darin LaHood, (R) 37th District.

"I do believe the pension conversations will take place quietly in Springfield over the next several days, with some understanding coming around a consensus bill," said Representative Jehann Gordon, (D) 92nd District.

However, the expectation is that work on the Pension bill won't likely happen until January and the lame duck session.

"When the speaker added five more days to what's called the Lame Duck session certainly leads one to believe that action will be taken on the Pension bill at that time," said Representative Dan Brady, (R) 88th District.

And that's not all that may wait until January in Springfield.

"I would anticipate that gambling expansion will wait until January, but I will continue to oppose it," said Representative Keith Sommer, (R) 106th District.

"If we had a nine billion dollar surplus instead of a nine billion dollar deficit, we wouldn't be looking at a massive expansion of gambling," said Senator LaHood.

Powerful house speaker Mike Madigan, who up until now has stayed out of gambling expansion, is reported to be one of the group working behind the scenes to come up with a bill agreeable to downstate and Chicago.

One thing which is likely to be taken up is the Governor's budget cuts to the Department of Corrections budget. In his plan to close two prisons, Pat Quinn cut $55 million from the Corrections budget. The legislature could return that money to the budget.

There's a feeling among many legislators and observers that closed door dealings on expanding gambling and pension reform may come in the "lame duck" session in January before the new General Assembly is sworn in.

"My strong belief is that most of the controversial issues will be put off until January and the Lame Duck session," said Rep. Leitch.

Action on the transfer of Wildlife Prairie State Park and an override of the Governor's Budget Cuts to Corrections could take place in December.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.