Illinois House lawmakers are back in Springfield Monday. Senators will join them on Wednesday. Pensions will again be the focus of the spring session. There’s pressure on lawmakers to decrease the cost of pensions by reducing benefits. But there’s also competing pressure to leave those benefits untouched. Another item lawmakers will have to take up is concealed carry. This weekend, Governor Pat Quinn took his call for new gun regulations to the church pulpit.
Quinn has been talking to church-goers about how to reduce gun violence in Chicago. At Saint Sabina’s on the city’s South Side - Quinn invoked the Bible in talking about proposals like expanding background checks and banning certain guns.
"We’re not going to stand by and let children and others be killed. No no no. We’re going to listen to what Paul said: Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails."
The pastor at Saint Sabina’s - Father Michael Pfleger - said he’s taking a group to Springfield this week to lobby for stricter gun regulations.
"If Connecticut can respond out of what happened in Newtown-Illinois, you ought to respond to what’s going on in Chicago on the South Side and the West Side. It’s time to step up."
Illinois legislators have until June to pass a law allowing concealed carry.
Legislators also have to craft a new budget. This year, they're set to cut education and other areas of government spending. But those cuts could be offset if the General Assembly and Governor Pat Quinn agree on a gambling expansion package that would allow five new casinos and legalize online betting. Other controversial items on the agenda include same-sex marriage and fracking.
Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky and Tony Arnold contributed to this report