Mon July 8, 2013
Pensions And Concealed Carry Part Of Springfield Schedule
The committee in charge of finding a pension solution for Illinois is scheduled to meet again Monday. The 10-member committee formed last month out of a special session on pensions. But will the threat of another deadline force them strike a deal?
Lawmakers adjourned without agreeing on a plan to solve the nearly 4100-billion dollar pension crisis. Both chambers had been divided on dueling proposals.
Governor Pat Quinn gave the committee a Tuesday deadline. That's something he has done several times since the beginning of last year:
Quinn on July 30, 2012: "… Aug. 17, is come together …
Quinn on Dec. 7, 2012: "... Jan. 9 at noon …"
Quinn on May 27, 2012: "… by this Friday midnight ..."
Quinn on June 7, 2013: "… 19th of this month ..."
Quinn on June 19, 2013: "… July 9, that's a Tuesday ..."
However, lawmakers have blown past all those deadlines. They say they won't meet Tuesday's either. They've asked for an actuarial analysis, which will take several days to complete.
Some observers say it appears the governor is having a tough time reaching out to the General Assembly on this issue. But political scientist Chris Mooney, of the University of Illinois Springfield, says one can argue that if Quinn hadn't been pushing as hard as he has, lawmakers might not even be discussing the problem.
"The current pension debate or discussion this summer I think is the most obvious example of something that's plausible that was driven by his deadlines" Mooney said.
Quinn declined the committee's invitation to testify at Monday's meeting. He says members know where he stands and his budget office will speak on his behalf.
Meanwhile, the General Assembly is expected to address another major issue this week. Lawmakers could override Quinn's changes to a concealed carry measure. Illinois has to meet a court-ordered deadline Tuesday to pass such legislation. A federal appeals court ruled Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban is unconstitutional. The original bill was agreed to after months of intense debate.
*Brian Mackey contributed to this report