Quinn Signs Pension Overhaul
A major overhaul of Illinois’ pension systems is now law.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the pension bill at a private ceremony in Chicago.
“Illinois is moving forward,” Governor Quinn said. “This is a serious solution to address the most dire fiscal challenge of our time. I applaud House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, Senator Kwame Raoul, Senator Daniel Biss, Representative Elaine Nekritz, Representative Darlene Senger, members of the conference committee, and legislators from both parties who made this day possible. Working together, we will continue to build a brighter future for the people of Illinois.”
We Are One Illinois, a coalition of unions, issued a quick response to the governor signing the measure.
"Governor Pat Quinn has given hundreds of thousands of working and retired teachers, nurses, police, caregivers, first responders, and others no alternative but to seek justice for retirement security through the judicial system," said the group, in a statement. "Contrary to his belief, every Illinois citizen loses today."
The plan, which legislators just passed on Tuesday, seeks to wipe out Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension debt by reducing state employees’ and public school teachers’ retirement benefits, and by raising the retirement age for workers who are younger than 46. It is expected the measure will face an immediate court challenge from labor unions.
After years of debate and political wrangling, the Illinois House and Senate narrowly approved a plan to deal with the state's $100 billion public employee pension problem. On a special edition of Illinois Lawmakers, host Jak Tichenor and his guests discuss the negotiations and last-minute efforts to pass the agreement negotiated by the four legislative leaders and a bipartisan conference committee of Representatives and Senators.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) Chicago, describes the shuttle diplomacy role he played in the final days and hours leading up to the vote in an exclusive newsmaker interview on the program. Two of the conference committee members, Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D) Northbrook and Rep. Darlene Senger (R) Naperville provide an in-depth discussion of the agreement's details. Later, Sen. Daniel Biss (D) Evanston, a conference committee member and Sen. David Luechtefeld (R) Okawville, an Assistant Senate Republican Leader, explain the reasons for their votes. Biss was one of 30 senators voting for the bill. Luechtefeld was one of 24 senators voting "no." The House approved the bill 62-53. Union officials representing state workers and retirees say the changes are unconstitutional and are planning a legal challenge.
Tuesday, the Illinois Legislature approved a history plan to eliminate the state’s $100 billion pension shortfall, considered the worst in the nation. The House voted 62-53 in favor of the plan, and the Senate approved the measure minutes earlier. The bill, however, passed with little support from East Central Illinois lawmakers.
How will it help the state’s budgetary woes and what will it mean for state employees? Does it violate the state’s pension protections spelled out in the Illinois constitution? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Illinois Public Radio’s Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and former Illinois State Senator Rick Winkel about what’s in the bill and what it means.