By Jayette Bolinski | Illinois Statehouse News
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Pat Quinn wants lawmakers to address pension reform when they return to Springfield in August.
The House will return, but the Senate will probably send its regrets.
Speaker Michael Madigan scheduled House lawmakers to convene Aug. 17 in Springfield to vote on expelling indicted Rep. Derrick Smith. It would be the first expulsion from that chamber since 1905.
But Senate President John Cullerton has no plans to convene the Senate, his spokesman told the Associated Press.
Quinn wanted lawmakers to deal with pension reform in May prior to adjourning for the summer, but negotiations collapsed at the last minute.
Legislative leaders have been meeting since then to hammer out differences about the reform, most of which center on shifting pension costs from the state to local school districts. Lawmakers in June said they needed another five weeks to study school-funding equality.
Pensions cost Illinoisans $12.6 million a day, Quinn has said. He called for swift action and has urged leaders to come to an agreement this summer, well ahead of the November election and before the veto session begins in late November.
Quinn’s spokeswoman, Brooke Anderson, did not respond to a request for comment Monday, but Quinn said during a public appearance Friday that he would like to see lawmakers address pensions when they convene in August.
“I think that’s a good time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on the pension issue,” he said.
Aug. 17 is the final Friday of the Illinois State Fair. Aug. 15 is Governor’s Day, or Democrat Day, and Aug. 16 is Republican Day – both of which draw elected officials and politicians to Springfield from all over the state for at least a day.