News Local/State

Durkin: More GOP Input Will Help Pension Reform


The new Republican Leader in the Illinois House says the General Assembly Conference Committee on pension reform has made some progress in its first three and-a-half months. 

However, State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) said there is more work to do, and he said that work would be easier if the Democratic majority listened more to Republican concerns.

“We have recommendations that have been presented,” said Durkin about the work of Republicans in the conference committee. “I’m not going to get into details, because we’ve kind of kept that in check at the moment. But there are proposals that we’ve asked them to consider, and we think are important for us as Republicans to get our arms around and support an ultimate piece of work.”

The suburban Chicago lawmaker said the Democrats who run the Pension Conference Committee seem to be more willing to negotiate with each other, than with their Republican counterparts. But at the same time, Durkin said House Speaker Michael Madigan has told him that he depends on Republican help on measures where strong support among Democrats is hard to find.

The 10-person Pension Conference Committee is chaired by State Rep. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago). Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) is the committee’s vice-chairwoman.

Lawmakers created the special body in June, after majority Democrats in the Illinois House and Senate reached an impasse over their competing pension reform plans.

Republican members of the committee include Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) and Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine).

Durkin's comments came during the Wednesday broadcast of "Focus" on WILL AM 580.