SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers are set to consider a potentially historic plan to solve the state's worst-in-the-nation $100 billion pension crisis.
Tuesday will begin with a morning hearing where a bipartisan committee of lawmakers will discuss the proposal. Opponents and supporters also will get a chance to weigh in.
A clear majority of committee members signed off on the plan Monday, sending it to the floor of the House and Senate.
Illinois has the nation's worst-funded state pension systems. The bill before the Legislature on Tuesday is estimated to save $160 billion over 30 years by trimming retirement benefits.
Illinois' legislative leaders and the governor have spent recent days drumming up support for the proposal.
Labor unions say it's unfair to retirees and believe that some elements are unconstitutional.
CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois House will convene for a special session next week on the state's roughly $100 billion pension crisis.
Both the House and Senate had tentatively set two days aside next week to meet. On Monday House Speaker Michael Madigan's chief of staff emailed representatives, telling them to expect a one-day session starting Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m.
Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman says senators still have the days on the books and there has been no change for now.
The four legislative leaders met last week on a plan that could save around $150 billion over the next three decades. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says the speaker continued discussions with leaders over the weekend and there was progress.
The leaders are expected to talk again this week.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan is telling Illinois lawmakers to be ready for a special session in Springfield in December.
Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes told Democrats in an email Wednesday that a "possible" session could begin Dec. 3. He told lawmakers to "keep other days that week available."
The email was sent around the time Madigan and other legislative leaders were meeting in Chicago to discuss a deal to solve the state's $100 billion pension crisis.
Dec. 3 is the day after the deadline for candidates to file paperwork in the 2014 campaign, including anyone challenging incumbents.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says progress is being made on pensions but any agreement is on hold until the cost savings of proposed solutions can be calculated.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers are convening in Springfield for the final three days of their annual fall session.
The action kicks off with Tuesday hearings on corporate tax incentives and stricter gun penalties in the Illinois House.
Same-sex marriage legislation could also come up for a vote in the coming days. The measure was approved by the state Senate in February but stalled in the House in the spring. Advocates have since launched a more collaborative push and several undecided lawmakers announced their support for the measure. Opponents say they're prepared to mount primary challenges against members who vote for the legislation.
Lawmakers are not confident there will be a vote on a deal to solve the state's $97 billion pension crisis, but they say they are making progress on a deal.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have re-opened talks on a bill to expand gambling, but many of the concerns that doomed earlier proposals remain.
The House Executive Committee held a hearing Wednesday on a measure to add five casinos and allow slot machines at Chicago's major airports. The bill passed the Senate in the spring but didn't get a House vote.
Bill sponsor Rep. Robert Rita is a Blue Island Democrat. He says he'll work to address concerns. They include whether there's sufficient oversight of a Chicago casino and how new revenue would be shared.
Both the House and Senate have adjourned for the week. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield for the second week of the fall session in early November.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers are returning to the state capitol for a second day of their annual fall veto session.
After getting off to a sputtering start Tuesday, the schedule on Wednesday is shaping up to include a hearing on gambling and more requests by state agencies for additional funds.
Horsemen and officials from the Illinois racetracks want lawmakers to authorize a law that allows for online betting. And lawmakers are reviving talks on a larger gambling bill that stalled this spring.
Tuesday also saw a gay marriage rally as part of an effort to make such unions legal in Illinois.
Lawmakers have yet to address the state's $97 billion pension shortfall and tax incentives aimed at keeping Archer Daniels Midland Company's global headquarters in Illinois.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers are set to reconvene Tuesday to address pressing issues such as pension reform and same-sex marriage. But a looming deadline for opponents to challenge sitting lawmakers in 2014 is one reason those issues could be pushed off once again.
The filing date for anyone considering challenging a legislator in the March primaries in Dec. 9. That could make some lawmakers especially careful about casting controversial votes.
On the session agenda is proposed tax incentives aimed at keeping the new global headquarters of Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland Company in Illinois. Lawmakers will consider supplementing the $35 billion budget approved in May and hold a hearing to resuscitate talks over expanding gambling in the state.
Legislation to enforce mandatory minimum prison sentences for felony gun convictions may also be considered.
The Illinois horse racing industry could find itself in a bind if lawmakers don't renew a law allowing online betting that expires in January.
Race dates at Illinois racetracks, including Fairmont Park, would be severely cut if lawmakers don't take action to renew the betting law and give Illinois' racing board access to money online wagering generates.
The issue could come up when the General Assembly convenes Tuesday.
But even if lawmakers get it done, there's no guarantee Governor Quinn will sign it. Quinn has said he won't consider other legislation until lawmakers fix the state's pension crisis.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's pleased the Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear his appeal of a ruling that found his veto of lawmakers' pay unconstitutional.
The court issued its one-page order Wednesday. A hearing date has not been set.
Quinn halted lawmakers' salaries in July. He said they shouldn't get paid until they addressed Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.
House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton then sued, arguing Quinn didn't have the authority to halt lawmaker paychecks.
A Cook County judge in September ordered that legislators be paid immediately.
Quinn appealed directly to the state's high court, saying his move was allowed through the state constitution.
Quinn's spokeswoman says the governor will continue to not accept his own paycheck until pension reform is achieved.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A proposed solution to Illinois' historic $100 million pension crisis is hanging in the balance as the state Legislature's October veto session approaches.
Key Democrats on a pension panel are pushing a plan to save the state $138 billion over the next 30 years, but Republican lawmakers want a number of changes. House Speaker Michael Madigan hasn't yet committed to calling the proposal for a vote, either.
Senate President John Cullerton supports the deal and calls it "less unconstitutional" than a previous plan that would have saved $163 billion.
Illinois' five public-employee retirement funds have an unfunded liability of about $100 billion. The annual contribution to the fund, plus payments on past pension bonds, is about $7.65 billion this year. That number will increase in years to come without action.