Political issues being mulled over

By WEEK Producer

November 27, 2012 Updated Nov 28, 2012 at 10:38 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois legislators have returned to Springfield for the veto session.

There are a lot of issues to be mulled over, and most of them involve money.

Tuesday, a House panel voted nine to nothing to approve a measure putting a limit on the pay raises the state will pay for: none!

It's the first time the General Assembly has got involved with what are normally contract dealings between the Governor and AFSCME and other unions. 

Meanwhile, there's the possibility that Illinois' financial situation (Tuesday, comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said the state remains $7 billion in debt) will force lawmakers to deal with the state's escalating pension costs.

"As we go through the next budget cycle and add another one billion pension obligation, it will force people to see the unsupported pressure it's putting on programs they support,” said State Rep. Elaine Nekritz. “Maybe that will wake people up."

In the Senate, lawmakers are trying to string together enough votes to over-ride the Governor's veto of a gaming people that would bring new casinos to Chicago, a north and south suburb as well as slots Arlington Park Racecourse.

"If we get to January 9 and a new General Assembly is sworn in we start all over on every bill on the calendar, not just gaming," said State Rep. Lou Lang.

And, immigrant groups descended on the State Capitol pushing a law to permit undocumented aliens to get driver's licenses. 

"This is an issue of public safety it needs to be addressed as soon as possible," said Lawrence Benito, CEO Highway Safety Coalition 

As a sign that most of the dealing is taking place out of sight, Thursday's veto session was canceled on Tuesday.

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