Illinois House, not optimistic following Senate's little progress

By Beau Ebenezer

January 4, 2013 Updated Jan 7, 2013 at 2:52 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD Ill -- The Illinois House is preparing for its Lame Duck session this weekend following very little progress by the Senate.

Everything appears to be up in the air after a slow start to the Illinois Senate's Lame Duck session.

"It really does remain to be seen what will be called in the lame duck session and what is going to be pushed off starting January ninth because anything that doesn't get done on January eighth has to start all over and go through the process again," said Republican Representative Mike Unes.

The Illinois Senate was expected to address pension reform, same-sex marriage, and gun laws in their session but only made minor adjustments to some.

The same sex marriage bill was pushed off Thursday night after failing to make a final vote.

"As I understand it, in the Senate, the bill was very poorly written and so it encountered a lot of opposition there. More than it otherwise might have encountered," said Republican Representative David Leitch.

Representative Unes says there are more important issues than same-sex marriage for the House to consider.

"We have unfunded pension liability from anywhere between $85 and $200 billion. We have unpaid bills of $9 billion. We owe our schools $900 million. We have a lot of important issues that we need to be addressing," said Unes. "So, I hope that that issue isn't taking up most of our substance of time."

Overall pension reform was not discussed before the Senate adjourned Thursday.

House Republican Keith Sommer says he is not too worried about the Senate not voting on anything because many will be leaving office in the coming days.

"Forty-five members who will no longer be in service come Wednesday. I'm hesitant to encourage those people to vote on legislation of that great magnitude when they won't be accountable in the next few days," said Sommer.

While House members are unsure what issues will be brought to the table on their January 6 session, it seems there aren't high hopes of reaching major decisions before the new General Assembly is sworn in on January 9.

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