Tue January 1, 2013
Priorities for Lame Duck Session
Several Illinois lawmakers say reforming the state’s massively underfunded pensions should be their top priority when they meet this week.
The state has $95 billion worth of unfunded pension obligations. And the governor’s office says that number is only going to grow if nothing is done. For months - it has been suggested that lawmakers will address the issue in special sessions called for the beginning of January.
But some legislators have said there isn’t a compromise yet. State Representative Daniel Biss says pension reform is important - but there’s no specific date they have to act by.
"I think we all have a responsibility to say, ‘Let’s make now the moment.’ If we fail, we fail and then we move on. But as long as we’re having this conversation, let’s make now the moment, see if we can get it done before January 9th."
That’s when winners of November’s election are sworn in. Before the end of the session - legislators could also address legalizing gay marriage, giving driver’s licenses to people who are in the country illegally or adding casinos, including one in Chicago and another in Rockford.
Illinois Public Radio's Tony Arnold contributed to this report