Illinois Senate Approves Pension Overhaul

May 10, 2013

Senate President John Cullerton

The Illinois Senate has approved an overhaul of the state's pension systems. It comes a week after the House approved a more severe set of benefit cuts.

Senate President John Cullerton negotiated his proposal with several labor unions. He acknowledges the plan would save less money than the House version. But he says it's about as far as lawmakers can go without violating the Illinois Constitution.

Several Republicans, like Matt Murphy of Palatine, had a simple answer for that: don't worry about it:

"Don't get bogged down by these constitutionality arguments, because frankly we have a court for that" Murphy said.

But Chicago Democrat Kwame Raoul says there would be ZERO savings from a plan that's not capable of surviving a court challenge.

"You can't just say, 'Aw screw the Constitution, let's just proceed without it" Raoul said.

The measure now goes to the House, where Speaker Michael Madigan says he remains committed to the overhaul he pushed through last week.