• House still pushing for pension reform

    by  • January 8, 2013 • News

    The Illinois House adjourned yesterday without a floor vote on a contentious plan to reform the public-employee pension system.

    A committee yesterday approved a compromise to close a $96 billion deficit in pension accounts and today a committee voted 7-2 to send Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal to the House floor for a vote.

    The plan would freeze cost-of-living increases and require higher employee contributions. It also sets aside the prickly issue of whether school districts should help pay for teachers’ retirement benefits.

    Rep. Elaine Nekritz is the bill’s sponsor. The Northbrook Democrat declined to push a floor vote yesterday. She says it will be called today “at the earliest.”

    Quinn wants a resolution before the current General Assembly’s session ends tomorrow, however, the Senate would have to approve the measure, as well — and the Senate’s not currently in session.

    One sign of action in this lame duck session includes the passage of immigrant driver’s license legislation, which is now heading to the governor for his signature. Quinn has been a vocal supporter of the measure.

    In another sign, a plan to expand the Medicaid program for low-income residents cleared a House committee yesterday.

    The plan will make up to 600,000 uninsured residents eligible for Medicaid when President Barack Obama’s health care makeover takes effect next year.