Tue January 8, 2013
Illinois House Adjourns Assembly Without Pension Vote
Updated 5:30 p.m. Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky and Brian Mackey used in this report.
The Illinois House has just adjourned the 97th General Assembly permanently, without taking a vote on the pension legislation.
The commission proposed earlier in the day by Gov. Quinn (more below) was not addressed.
Members of the House approved it in committee, but several said they were doing so only as a show of respect for the governor, and had serious reservations about whether the idea was constitutional.
Meanwhile, Senate President John Cullerton, whose chamber actually passed a limited pension overhaul last year, says the legislature needs to start working on the issue again right away - tomorrow, after the new General Assembly is sworn in.
Earlier Story from update at 3:46 p.m.:
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is dumping attempts at a compromise on public-pension reform and instead proposed a commission to recommend fixes to the state's $96 billion problem.
Quinn and the legislation's sponsor offered a last-ditch effort Tuesday afternoon that contains the extra-legislative commission. A House committee approved the measure 7-2 after a House bill crumbled in the last hours of the Legislature's lame-duck session.
The change would create an eight-member commission to come up with recommendations by April 30. It could enact those reforms with majority of five votes unless overturned by the Legislature.
In proposing the commission, Quinn cited the downgrades of the state's credit rating as an impact of the impasse over pensions - and stated the possibility of another downgrade.
"It's time I think to realize under this emergency when we have a situation where out credit rating is in dire jeopardy - it's already been downgraded on numerous occasions, that we're looking unfortunately at perhaps another downgrade - that we have to take extraordinary action to break the gridlock," Quinn said.
Quinn also likened the panel to a federal commission formed to close military bases or the former Compensation Review Board that determined lawmakers' salaries.
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