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Fri May 31, 2013
What's Left? Pensions, Guns, And Same-Sex Marriage
Illinois has the worst funded pension system in the nation, and lawmakers have until tonight to do something about it.
The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn by midnight. After that, it requires extra votes to get legislation to the governor's desk. Pensions are not the only thing left.
Recent Statehouse Action:
- The Illinois House approved a measure to regulate fracking. It requires companies to disclose chemicals used in the process and water testing before and after drilling. The measure heads to the Senate.
- Illinois lawmakers have adopted a plan to allow online voter registration. Governor Pat Quinn says it will make registration easier. The plan would require an applicant to use a driver's license and the last four digits of a Social Security number.
- The Illinois Senate rejected a plan pushed by the House to solve the state's pension crisis. The proposal from House Speaker Michael Madigan would cut benefits and increase contributions for employees to help cut a $97 billion debt in five pension systems. Senate Democrats prefer a plan by President John Cullerton which offers employees a choice of benefits. He says that plan would survive a court challenge.
- Colleges and universities would assume the cost of their employees' pensions under a proposal that cleared the Illinois House Thursday. The plan has the backing of state universities and community colleges, which say they can afford the gradual phase-in. They also negotiated for looser purchasing rules they say will let them operate more efficiently.
- A proposal that would regulate the use of drones by law enforcement agencies in Illinois has cleared the House. Drones are unmanned aircraft that authorities are considering for aerial surveillance. The proposal would require police to obtain a search warrant before using a drone to collect information. The legislation includes exceptions, like when the Department of Homeland Security determines such surveillance is needed to prevent a terrorist attack. Other exceptions include cases of imminent danger or preventing a prisoner escape. It still needs final approval in the Senate.