Tom Cross

(via Flickr/AnneH632)

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

Illinois lawmakers will take a shot today at passing a massive overhaul of the state's pension system.

It's a move permitted by a surprise decision last night by House Speaker Michael Madigan, who handed control of the measure over to the top Republican in the House, Tom Cross.

Flickr/david-shane

Mo. Supreme Court to hear arguments in public defender case

A case that could decide how Missouri public defenders deal with case overload will be heard by the state's Supreme Court today. In July 2010 the public defender office in Christian County announced it had reached its case threshold and could take no more cases. The next month a judge assigned an indigent defendant to that office anyway and the public defender system filed suit.

St. Louis University law professor Susan McGraugh says the high court's decision could have a big impact.