By Todd Wineburner
Illinois lawmakers got a pension reform package out of committee, but that's the only progress that was made. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan adjourned the lower chamber's portion of the lame duck session yesterday without action on the topic that is arguably the most pressing issue the state faces. The Illinois Senate had announced earlier that it wouldn't address the issue unless the House passed a bill.
The issue, of course, is not dead. With a new general assembly sworn in as of Wednesday, Senate President John Cullerton, State Senator Daniel Biss, and State Representative Elaine Nekritz have all vowed to re-introduce the pension legislation that moved out of committee earlier this week.
Governor Pat Quinn says pension reform faces systemic obstacles, and he proposes a radical restructuring of the way the issue is discussed. As the lame duck session entered its final hours, Quinn talked to reporters about the wisdom of the federal government in creating a special commission for making decisions about closing domestic military installations. Quinn says a similar approach can give pension reform a new start. He advocates an 8 person panel comprised of members selected by legislative leaders.