Illinois House unanimously OKs Madigan’s pension amendment
SPRINGFIELD — A proposed constitutional amendment that requires a supermajority vote, instead of a simple majority vote, for all public pension boosts in Illinois sailed through the House on Wednesday but may hit rougher waters in the Senate.
Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said not to expect speedy action on the proposal in the Senate.
Cullerton "thinks all parties need to meet to address concerns and further discuss the merits of the legislation,” Phelon said.
House lawmakers unanimously approved the proposal, 113-0, Tuesday afternoon. If the Senate approves it, Illinois voters can approve or reject the constitutional amendment in November.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, sponsored the measure. It applies to any governmental body in Illinois, including the state, counties, municipalities and school boards. Each would have to have a three-fifths majority vote, not the simple majority of 60 votes, before approving any boosts to public employee pensions.
The amendment makes good business sense state Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Edwardsville, said Wednesday.
“This is a big decision that impacts the state of Illinois. I support this because this is a good business decision. This is the way the state of Illinois should run,” he said.
State Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville, said more must be done to address the state’s financial crisis. She said the proposal does nothing to address the state’s unfunded pension liability, nor does it address Medicaid reform.
Madigan has referred to the proposal as “tough medicine” for the state.
“Although I do agree it’s a difficult thing and moving in the right direction, we still have a lot of work to do,” Senger said.
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