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A new report shows nearly a quarter of Illinois' state spending plan for next year will go toward pension payments. The Illinois State House and the State Senate have so far disagreed on the best way to address the worst-funded pension system in the country.
Laurence Msall is with the Civic Federation - a budget watchdog group. He says the state used to spend about 7 percent of its budget on retirement benefits. Now it's closer to 25 percent.
"It effectively means that all new revenue, in order to keep up with that growth, has to go into the pension system," Msall said.
Two Illinois lawmakers say they're within "striking distance" of getting legislative approval for gay marriage and hope to send a bill to Gov. Pat Quinn shortly after the new year.
Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans say they'll call for a vote on a gay marriage bill when the Legislature reconvenes in January. The Chicago Democrats say public opinion favoring equal rights for same-sex partners is moving rapidly. The fact that four states voted in favor of the issue or opposed a ban on it in November helps.
Last week, the Illinois Department of Corrections broke a rather unenviable record. On Tuesday, the department housed 49,172 inmates. The previous record was sent in Oct. 2011 when the population hit 49,135.
The population has been steadily rising since Ill. Gov. Pat Quin suspended an early release program in the middle of a heated primary election against Dan Hynes two years ago. Quinn recently signed into law a new early release program that should help bring down the number but it hasn't yet been implemented.
Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:
St. Louis County attitude survey results presented
Last night members of the St. Louis County Council heard the results of a survey that measured how the attitudes of residents have changed over the past five years. Many don't think the county is going in the right direction but don't place the blame on their county government.
Five years ago, a little over 60 percent of people thought the county was going in the right direction; today that number is 44 percent.