Jim Durkin

  While the historic 22-month Illinois budget impasse has dominated the legislative session in Springfield again, state lawmakers also have grappled with how to respond to Chicago’s gun violence. 

Illinois House leaders of both parties have introduced legislation to change the state’s public pension systems. But some constitutional lawyers say it has little chance of getting through the Illinois Supreme Court.

Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie are pushing a plan to effectively lower pension benefits for public employees by giving them a choice: agree to lower raises in retirement, or have your pension based on your salary today, no matter how much more money you make in the future.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says the tone in Springfield is deteriorating - and has been since the election.

He blames this on Democrats upset with his party picking up seats in the recent election.  

"For many years, Republicans have been pushed around," he says.  "We’ve been defeated, outspent - grossly outspent - for many, many years. Republicans gave them, them - the Democrats, a taste of their own medicine last November and I think that they’re still reeling over it."

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Illinois’ top politicians are divided on how to end their feud over passing a full budget. 

Republicans are holding out for Governor Bruce Rauner’s agenda.  It includes changes to workers compensation and imposes term limits on lawmakers.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says Republicans will be happy to talk about balancing the budget if these measures are implemented. 

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner continues to demand legislators lower what businesses have to pay for injured workers.  

House Democrats scheduled a hearing on the subject Monday, and yet Rauner's fellow Republicans wanted nothing to do with it.

When is a company on the hook to compensate an injured worker, and for how much?

Legislation encapsulating Gov. Rauner's preferred plan has sat idle, for a year-and-a-half.

But after he recently asked Democratic leaders to take another look at his bill; the House obliged and scheduled a hearing on it.

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