Legislators to return to Springfield for special session on pension reform

By WEEK Producer

June 18, 2013 Updated Jun 18, 2013 at 9:38 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- It sounds like Governor Pat Quinn and state legislative leaders may have a strategy for moving pension reform forward.

The governor has called for a special session in Springfield on Wednesday.

State Representative Don Moffitt says Governor Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton may call for a conference committee to establish pension reform. The bipartisan panel could finally move Illinois' pension crisis forward.

"The word that there's the possibility of a conference committee is good news,” said state Senator Dave Koehler, (D) 46th district. “We need to have some agreement between the house and senate. That's where the stumbling block is.”

Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate have failed to reach a compromise on two pension reform bills. One is a bill from House Speaker Michael Madigan, which he says saves the state more money but raises the retirement age.

Senate leader John Cullerton says Madigan's proposal is unconstitutional and does not have union support.

The special session scheduled for Wednesday will cost taxpayers $40,000.

Some legislators like Sen. Koehler and Rep. Dan Brady, (R) 105th district, say they are returning their $111 a day stipend back to the state.

"As a representative of the 105th district, I don't think that it's right that we be called back to special session when there's no game plan when there's no agreed to bill,” said Brady.

"As you know I supported speaker Madigan's proposal,” said state Senator Bill Brady, (R) 44th district. “I think it ha significant savings. Some elements of it I'm not positive are constitutional, like raising the retirement age."

Once the conference committee makes a recommendation on a pension reform bill it would then go before the full legislature for a vote.

Governor Quinn would call another special session where they would vote on the conference committee's pension reform plan.

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