In his second
“weekly order of business” for the week, House Speaker Michael Madigan
(D-Chicago) is scheduled to gather legislators at noon today to vote on amendments to two pension reform bills.
Madigan filed four amendments to two House bills, HB 1154 and HB 1165. Two amendments were filed for each bill.
The purpose of the amendments is to “get the discussion moving and try to control
pension costs," according to Steve Brown, a spokesman for the House Speaker.
Madigan’s amendments would raise the retirement
age to collect full pension benefits to 67, increase
employees’ pension contributions to 5 percent, end cost-of-living
adjustments (COLA) for anyone hired before January 1 of last year, and put a stop to COLAs until the pension system is at an 80 percent funding level. The current funding level for pensions is 39 percent.
UPDATE 1 (4:57 p.m.): The House rejected Madigan's proposals. The proposals to end COLAs for retirees was voted down 66-2 and the amendment to cease COLAs until the system is 80 percent funded failed by a 62-5 vote. The amendment to raise the retirement age was denied by a 66-1 vote and the plan to have employee contributions raised by 5 percent went down in flames by a 61-3 vote.
Republicans did not vote on the amendments at all, arguing that the piecemeal approach was "a joke", according to House Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego).
"The House forcefully rejected unfair, unconstitutional pension cuts today," the We Are One Coalition said in a statement. "Lawmakers should build on this momentum to abandon tired approaches and work with us on serious, coalition-endorsed legislation, starting with House Bill 3162 and Senate Bill 2404.”