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AFT backs pension compromise

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

* This didn’t get much play anywhere, but the American Federation of Teachers’ president sent out a statement yesterday backing the state unions’ pension reform proposal…

“Illinois has a chance to pass smart and fair pension reform legislation that was developed collaboratively with public employees, who were willing to accept cuts in their retirement benefits to ensure long-term stability of the state’s pension system and its commitment to its employees and retirees. Instead of focusing on blaming, scapegoating and trying to eviscerate public workers—as is the sport in so many states—there was a real effort in the Senate-passed measure to reach consensus with state workers and find a fair solution to fixing the pension system.

“Public employees, who care for the sick, teach our children, and keep bridges and roads safe, make pension contributions throughout their careers and deserve to have retirement security. This proposal guarantees that the state funds pensions and doesn’t walk away from its obligations to hard-working employees. The compromise achieved in Illinois shows that when people are willing to work together in good-faith negotiations, fair solutions are attainable. We hope the Illinois House passes this measure quickly, and it is signed into law.”

That statement is significant because it shows at least one international union is not trying to downplay a compromise effort at the state level. It could even turn out to be a template for other states that are debating the issue.

The newspaper editorial boards have generally been so quick to dismiss the union effort that they haven’t realized what a major step this really was. Unions here have always refused to go backward on pension benefits. The agreement shows that they now understand compromise is necessary and right.

The intense blowhard opposition truly disheartens those of us who have been publicly prodding the unions to come to the table. One of the few non-blowhard editorial pages, the State Journal-Register, wants a few more tweaks

Cullerton’s plan is the best hope for getting pension legislation to the governor this year and ensuring that education, public safety and health care are better funded. He and Madigan should explore ways to modify Cullerton’s plan to find more savings.

For example, it could be modified so that, like Madigan’s plan, it caps the salary upon which an employee can earn a pension. Another potential change could be to rework the funding schedule, as has been suggested by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.

Illinois cannot afford to let another legislative session end without making some movement toward pension reform. Madigan and Cullerton should begin negotiations immediately and finally bring this issue to a resolution.

It’s hard to disagree with that.

* From Finke

“As a lawyer-legislator, you can’t just say, ‘Oh, screw the Constitution, let’s just proceed without it.” Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, on whether lawmakers should consider the chances that a pension bill is constitutional before approving it.

* Related…

* Kadner: A travesty of a mockery of a sham

* Klickna: Coalition plan is fair, effective, constitutional

* Nekritz: Time to do the right thing over the easy thing

* Morrison: We must rethink old ideas about retirement

* Editorial: The time for pension reform is at hand

* Potential impacts of proposed pension plans vary for McDonough County

- Posted by Rich Miller        


67 Comments
  1. - The Old Professor - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:04 am:

    Faculty at UIUC are not unionized (yet) and nobody is authorized to represent us in negotiations to shred our constitutionally-protected contractual rights. They didn’t ask for my consent, and they would not have gotten it. If you take away my money, give me power; identify one or two seats on the Board of Trustees for employees and retirees.


  2. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    ===Faculty at UIUC are not unionized ===

    That’s your problem.


  3. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:07 am:

    Cullerton’s bringing the heat in support of his bill. It’s an interesting face-off with Madigan.


  4. - Abe the Babe - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:12 am:

    Im guessing Madigan will put savings adders onto the cullerton bill such that the unions no longer are on board. Send it back to the senate (along with the budget) and proclaim:

    “The house has finished its legislative business. adjourned.”

    Sometimes I miss the Emil/Madigan fight. it was terrible for the state but terribly interesting to watch too.


  5. - PublicServant - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    === ===Faculty at UIUC are not unionized ===
    That’s your problem. === ===

    A little bit flippant dontcha think, Rich? He’s a professor at the state’s flagship university. In order to become one, he needed to be near the top of his field. The University of Illinois, in spite of the state’s abandonment of higher education, still is recognized as one of the top public universities in the country, especially in engineering. It’s a great state economic asset. You don’t think those professors might rethink their affiliation with the U of I, if the state decimates the pension? There’s already been a massive brain drain underway in state employment for a while now. And you might want to ask HR around the state how their recruiting has been going regarding the filling of those highly technical, and knowledge-driven job openings. From my perspective, state employment offer/acceptences in those types of positions is non-existant. Losing the brains that attract the students to the state’s flagship university is foolish policy. The professor is right. The unions don’t speak for him, and passing unconstitutional bills won’t solve the debt problems of this state.


  6. - The Old Professor - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:29 am:

    Rich Miller wrote:

    ===Faculty at UIUC are not unionized ===

    That’s your problem.

    My reply: I’ve been working on it the last two years. This won’t help.


  7. - Shore - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:31 am:

    the tribune endorsed a democrat for president twice for the first time in their history. they’ve regularly endorsed jan schakowsky over joel pollak, jesse jackson jr despite the clouds looming over him and boatloads of madigan and cullerton water carriers in the suburbs who are fiscal liberals. Reminds me of the people up on the north shore that used to call mark kirk a radical christian right extremist.


  8. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    ==passing unconstitutional bills won’t solve the debt problems of this state==

    Passing no bills also won’t help the debt problem of the state. Look, I’ve got a dog in this fight and I don’t want to lose anything. But I also recognize that something has to be done. The truth is we DO NOT KNOW what is or isn’t Constitutional until the state Supreme Court says so. As long as people continue to play those guys and gals in the black robe and thread the needle of Constitutionality absolutely nothing will get done. Pass something and let the Courts tell us something - anything. Until then we’ll get nothing but these academic discussions and hand wringing about Constitutionality.


  9. - walkinfool - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    The AFT is responsible and professional in negotiations and legislative efforts — more than other teachers’ advocates, IMHO.


  10. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:42 am:

    “The agreement shows that they now understand compromise is necessary and right.”

    Very well said. I agree, because the pension debt is so large that other approaches will be needed, such as ending some corporate tax breaks and reamortizing the debt. Now that the unions have agreed to compromise, I believe it puts them in a better position to lobby for some of these things.

    “The newspaper editorial boards have generally been so quick to dismiss the union effort that they haven’t realized what a major step this really was.”

    Some of these people don’t even want unions to exist, or they want to weaken them into political and economic impotence.

    I read a chilling story yesterday about the Bangladesh factory collapse that killed over 1,100 people. The building housed five garment factories. Because of the disaster, the government will now allow workers to unionize without the permission of business owners. It’s said that when workers tried to unionize before, they were fired and even beaten.


  11. - Reality Check - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:43 am:

    You don’t think those professors might rethink their affiliation with the U of I, if the state decimates the pension?

    Yes, of course they will, and should. The point is that the Cullerton bill hardly “decimates the pension”. It guarantees future funding, dedicates a revenue stream, and gives participants like The Old Professor a choice between reasonable options such as setting aside a little bit more from every check, opting out of health insurance in retirement or delaying the annual COLA by a couple of years. Is it what any single person or group would design to serve only its self interest? No - and that’s called compromise.


  12. - Wodford Wayne - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:45 am:

    Of the two plans now on the table, and each passed by 1/2 of the GA, the Senate plan is much better for the unions and their members. As the Chicago Tribune has pointed out, “The Senate plan is projected to save about a third of the House plan’s.”

    By backing the Senate plan the unions can show flexability. They can also save their members money and when it comes time to pay the rest of the money, which will need to be done at some time, they can say that they did their share and now someone else needs to step up to the plate and pay the rest. I wonder who will that be?


  13. - anotherretiree - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    I dont believe the salary cap is constitutional for those employees whose salary is already above it. Each year employees receive a statement showing what level their pension benefit has accrued to. If they resign that day, the benefit has already been earned. For SERS its years of service * .0167 * final avg salary. The salary cap is a dimminishment. The State has put it in writing. For employees who haven’t reached the cap it also may be unconstituitional. They were promised the rules under which their benefit would accrue.You can’t say to a bondholder “I know I signed to pay you interst for 30 years but I think I’ll cap it at 25″. We either have contract law or we don’t. The only solution that will work is Rep Fortner’s.


  14. - Rob Roy - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:02 am:

    I do not need a judge to tell me what is right or wrong or what is constitutional. I can read and I understand what I read. The language was put into the constitution just for the reason that we are now facing so state employees had a guarantee that there pensions would be funded. Mr. Madigan has been in office from 1971 until now, he knows exactly what is the right thing to do and it is not pass some bill and see if it passes the constitutional tests. Just put out a bill that is constitutional from the start. If he can not discern if it is or isn’t after all these years in office…I mean really. The pension system has been stolen from for many years, it’s time to pay the piper.


  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    ===I do not need a judge to tell me what is… constitutional.===

    As long as you live in America, you do.


  16. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    Since the Constitutionality issue is a point of contention, why hasn’t anyone asked our chief legal officer - the Attorney General - to weigh in with her legal interpretation of the proposals at hand?

    Don’t make it a campaign thing, either. No pushing her for her proposals or solutions. Just very simply: what is her legal interpretation and opinion of the two proposals at hand?

    She is in a unique position to lend some clarity on the issue for legislators and the public.


  17. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:10 am:

    @Rob Roy and others, Madigan knows his bill is on shaky constitutional ground, and the preamble is an acknowledged end-run around the pension clause where the “general welfare” of the state supposedly trumps the “subset of general welfare” of the pensioners and would-be pensioners. The arguments on both sides of the constitutional issues have been debated ad nauseum by many here, of all stripes and degrees of competency on the issues. Until a bill passes and gets tested by the court, I’m not sure there’s anything anyone can add at this point, even the detailed responders like RNUG.


  18. - Rob Roy - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:13 am:

    I disagree Rich. Judges are human and make mistakes just like the rest of us. I do not need another man or woman for that matter to explain what I already understand. They are suppose to be neutral but if that is true why would the politicians leave them out of the fixes put forward? We are a nation of laws not men well at one time we were. “Shall not be diminished” I get it do you? I do not need a judge to explain that to me.


  19. - Fred's Mustache - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:15 am:

    Rob Roy - Legal scholar of the century (Snark)


  20. - law abiding citizen - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:19 am:

    I thought Fortner’s plan also had a cap on pensionable salary. Freezing the pensionable salary at current income really hurts people in my situation. I am a high earner skilled professional (doctor) who plans to keep working for another 15 years. I agree that capping pensions will make it harder and harder to recruit and keep quality people in high salary positions. I have had many other excellent job offers which I have passed on mainly because of future expectations of a decent pension. Personally I will keep working for the state with Cullerton’s plan but I’ll leave if Madigan’s is found Constitutional.


  21. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    A separate post today notes that Speaker Madigan essentially elected the Chief Justice during his first run for the office.

    Something is definitely rotten in Denmark.


  22. - Rob Roy - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    That’s right just attack me not the issue Mr. Fred. Just because that was not my chosen profession doesn’t mean that I am capable of that job. I am sir a leader not a follower. No Snark intended.


  23. - dupage dan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:21 am:

    What makes the Senate plan more constitutional? By any description, it is a diminishment. So, how is it better? Because there is union support? Is that all it takes?

    I am not knocking the plan. I am a state employee and have skin in the game. I believe that all have to sacrifice here since we all have had a part in this, one way or the other. Face it, if you vote, you are involved. We have elected the folks who have brought this about. I am just curious how it can be said that the Senate plan is “more constitutional”. Is it like saying a woman is mostly pregnant?


  24. - Chris - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:22 am:

    “why hasn’t anyone asked our chief legal officer - the Attorney General - to weigh in with her legal interpretation of the proposals at hand”

    Because (1) she’s an executive branch officer, who you would be asking to speculate about how the judicial branch would rule, and that’s inappropriate, and (2) WHATEVER is passed, she would be called upon to defend before the Supreme Court–what if she says “I think the House plan is unconstitutional and here is why” and then the House plan is the one that is passed into Law? She’d have prejudiced her client.

    That’s simply not a reasonable position.

    Asking the Supreme Court for an advisory opinion is the only practical course, but I do not think they would agree to issue one (someone correct me, please??) until *after* the law is passed.


  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:22 am:

    ===Because there is union support? Is that all it takes?===

    Well, no, but the amicus briefs filed by the unions will be extremely important.


  26. - Chris - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    “I am just curious how it can be said that the Senate plan is “more constitutional”. ”

    Believe that that is merely shorthand way of saying “The Supreme Court is more likely to find this plan Consitutional than the other plan”.


  27. - Fred's Mustache - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    Rob,

    I actually agree with you that the diminishment clause poses a problem for both versions of the pension legislation. With that said, just to point to the Constitution and say, “that is what it says” is not a strong legal argument. The U.S. Constitution is just a handful of pages long, yet Constituional Law books are hundreds of pages long.

    I guess my point is, things are never as simple as they seem - especially when it comes to the law.


  28. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:40 am:

    Good tactical move by the IFT/AFT. As walkinfool noted above, they are the best.


  29. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    Rob Roy, you might want to stick with cattle rustling.

    Last I checked, judges get to interpret Constitutions and rule on laws.


  30. - orlkon - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    The fact is that no “pension savings” will go toward bringing down the pension debt by appying those funds toward paying it down. Any “savings” will be spent on other programs and pensions will continue to be crippled.
    It ’s another shell game like lottery profits going into the education fund


  31. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    === Because (1) she’s an executive branch officer, who you would be asking to speculate about how the judicial branch would rule, and that’s inappropriate ===

    “Inappropriate” like the time she did this:
    “Madigan Issues Surprise Opinion on Senate Seat”
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/02/26/702086/-Did-Lisa-Madigan-read-my-dKos-Diary

    OR maybe this

    http://www.lisamadigan.org/Issues/item/2010-05–fighting-for-taxpayers-
    As Attorney General, Lisa Madigan has always stood up to Illinois’ powerbrokers on behalf of Illinois taxpayers. In 2004, former Governor Blagojevich planned to mortgage the Thompson Center, a State office building in downtown Chicago, saddling the taxpayers with years of debt for a short-term infusion of cash. In response, Attorney General Madigan issued an opinion finding that the transaction was unconstitutional and refused to allow the deal to proceed.

    It appears Attorney General Madigan feels it perfectly appropriate to issue such opinions, especially when they involved contentious items receiving a media attention. Those are just the first two of many more examples that popped up.

    She should feel right at home sharing her opinion on this issue. It doesn’t even need to be a formal written one as in the many other instances readily available.


  32. - RNUG Fan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 12:02 pm:

    I am in an IFT household so I will thank WIF and AA for the complement…..
    We have been quietly working and really appreciate the Senate President
    We and the CTU do have some resources.
    http://www.ilcampaign.org/top20/2009-2010


  33. - RNUG Fan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 12:04 pm:

    To Old Prog
    I would first let those so called law professors that Rich took to task a few weeks ago and then you can use a Union but leave out the “law” achool


  34. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 12:07 pm:

    When was the last time any AG weighed in on the Constitutionality of any legislation under consideration, or any Supreme Court gave an “advisory” opinion on pending legislation.

    Separation of powers and all that.


  35. - U of I state employee - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 12:08 pm:

    dupage dan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 11:21 am:

    What makes the Senate plan more constitutional? By any description, it is a diminishment. So, how is it better? Because there is union support? Is that all it takes?

    It too maybe unconstitional, the unions just agreed not to sue. That doesn’t mean someone else can’t.

    PS. I think the Tier II pension as more to do with our brain drain because it doesn’t even meet SS standards, thus Federally illegal. That is trying to be addressed too. Noone is coming to IL anymore because of it when offered a job. At least at our U.


  36. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    dupage dan @ 11:21 am:

    Guessing at the constitutionality gets down to language and sematics. As I see it, there are four (somewhat redundant and intertwined) hurdles any bill needs to pass:

    1) the pension clause

    2) contract law

    3) previous rulings by the IL SC

    4) the 1970 Con-Con transcripts and subsequent testimony that led to the various #3 above

    As I’ve said before, Madigan’s version of SB0001 is straight diminishment, which doesn’t pass any of the above tests.

    The Cullerton’s version of SB2404 is also diminishment, but at least it possibly passes the contract law test but, since there is no choice to pick the existing rules, I have to assume Cullerton (and Eric Madiar) believe either the funding guanantee and/or police powers will let the bill stand.

    Last week I handicapped both bill’s odds; I see nothing to change my mind on that opinion … IF the IL SC stays consistent with previous rulings.


  37. - Mouthy - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 12:31 pm:

    As a retiree the Madigan plan hurts worse than the Cullerton plan but is fairer, in respect to the differential between the average and top pension earners such as legislators. The unions are giving a gift to the high earning pensioners. A lot of the state’s unions have leadership that also wear the hat of Democratic activist. They were wearing the wrong hat in the backing of Cullerton’s plan.


  38. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 12:59 pm:

    @Rob Roy:

    You have a right to your opinion but in the end your opinion doesn’t matter. If the Supreme Court says something is Constitutional then it is. End of story. You may not agree with it but you have to live with it.


  39. - The Old Professor - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    Let me try to address the Republican readers of Capitol Fax. I have had a contract with UIUC and was explicitly recruited with the understanding that “Faculty salary is 11th in the Big Ten, but the pension is strong and protected by the Constitution”. (Back then, 11th was a joke.) Hundreds of faculty considering competing offers from other first-rate universities were reminded of this promise as part of the UIUC counteroffer. Since contracts are supposed to be binding, the difference between what we get and what we were promised should be construed as a new TAX (of maybe 10-30% eventually) which is levied only on retired state employees. Now how fair does it sound?


  40. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    ===should be construed as a new TAX (of maybe 10-30% eventually) ===

    More appropriately a “service fee.”


  41. - PublicServant - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    Professor, I appreciate and agree with your comments, but on this board, we’re way past discussing whether any of the bills being considered are fair to the state employees. We’ve already been cast as villians by the right, and this blog is more about what will pass politically, and how we’re failing to be reasonable and compromise. Oh, also, that we really ought to compromise since no one, execpt apparently Madigan, knows how the Illinois Supreme Court will rule. I think that pretty much sums it up, although I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong.


  42. - The Old Professor - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    The battle between Madigan and Cullerton is a lot like King Kong vs Godzilla, with my promised pension playing the role of Downtown Tokyo


  43. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:20 pm:

    The Old Professor @ 1:15 pm:

    Our pension is the opening act.

    Wait until they get down to spending the “savings” instead of putting it in the pension funds.


  44. - Ghost - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    Six, technically the preamble is an attempt to trigger a police powers exception to the constitution. To clarify, madigans preamble acknowledges that the law inhernetly is unconstitutional, but it seeks to invoke and document a police powers exception to override the consitution (which in theory is a consitutional disregard for the consitution :))

    The problem is that for Madigan to succedd he has to show a narowly tailored law. It also raises some interesting questions about the the process for constitutionaly ammending the stat consitution. Madigan has created a defacto consitutional ammendment without actually seeking to ammend the consitution. There is a side argument that if the State wants to change pensions proeduraly it can not be done by law, it must be done by seekin to ammend the constitution itself. Imagine if we could bypass Federal constitutional povisions by meeting the standards for passing a law instead of the standards for changing the consitution. Arguably if changing a constitutional provision requries a higher standard then passing a law, we are circumventing the higher standard and rendering it meaningless, since we can bypass it with a law passed under a lower threshold.


  45. - dupage dan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:34 pm:

    @ U of I state employee,

    I appreciate your comments. Frankly, I think if the unions accept something that looks like Cullertons bill and it becomes law, we could likely see the retired state employees banding together into a class action as their interests (and soon to become mine) are not being considered by either bill.


  46. - dupage dan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:38 pm:

    RNUG - how do you arrive at that assumption? Oh, wait a minute, I remember. Psychology 101 class.

    The best predictor of future behavior is…past behavior. Nuff said.


  47. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    dupage dan @ 1:34 pm:

    Wth the Cullerton bill, you could possibly get a split ruling that retirees are completely protected while employees are protected on beenfits earned to date but can have future terms changed. And portions of the bill would stand because of the multiple severability clauses in SB2404.

    Again, that would be a departure from past rulings, but less radical than the complete reversal other adverse (to the employees / retirees) rulings could require. Even though it would only save a little money, that might be a compromise ruling from the IL SC that considered both existing law and made some political accomodation.


  48. - anon for a reason - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    Although they are viewing this from very different vantage points and have very different opinions/positions on how this should play out, I agree with both the Old Professor and Mouthy.
    No one is going to be happy. Many are bitter and are going to bite back any way they can. This is going to take years to resolve emotionally.


  49. - Norseman - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:03 pm:

    As much as I love to vent about this as every other state/teacher worker/retiree, this will not change the fact that the powers that be will pass something. This post is focused on the union effort to pass something more moderate.

    In keeping with this theme, I want to reiterate the need for the unions - who staked a lot on compromising to bring about 2424 - to work hard to support it and ensure Cullerton stays strong behind the bill. Otherwise, the unions reinforce a perception that they are now useless to their members.


  50. - Ghost - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:07 pm:

    On a side note. If the Supremes uphold this law, that technically opens the door to changing their pension as well using the ame tool/argument later on.


  51. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    “This is going to take years to resolve emotionally.”

    Absolutely. no one is coming out a winner in this. And a group that probably will come out the worst is comprised of the out-of-work, under-employed and impoverished who really are paying the price in reduced opportunities, neighborhood violence, poor public schools and the slow motion masacre of minorities in Chicago’s south and west sides due to lack of resources in a mis-managed state.


  52. - PublicServant - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    CCC, you’re absolutely right but the lack of resources has nothing to do with the pensions, it has to do with the structural revenue deficit the state has been running for 7 decades. The pensions were simply used as the bank, and as I’ve stated before, the bank doesn’t need reform if you borrow too much, your borrowing addiction, instead, is what needs reform.


  53. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    Per 15 ILCS 205/4, the Attorney General absolutely can and should be asked for her professional opinion of this legislation.

    “The duties of the Attorney General shall be —
    Eighth - To give written opinions, when requested by either branch of the general assembly, or any committee thereof, upon constitutional or legal questions.”

    Glad we have our answer.


  54. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:41 pm:

    Even better, here is a 2009 press release from her office regarding a similar question of constitutionality (albeit U.S. instead of state) and pending legislation:

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/02/illinois_attorney_general_lisa.html
    Release from Madigan…..

    As the General Assembly considers bills to address the process for filling a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, the Attorney General has received inquiries specifically asking whether the legislature can constitutionally pass a law that changes the date of the next election for the U.S. Senate.

    The Attorney General is releasing the following statement:
    “It is my opinion that the legislature may pass a law allowing the people of Illinois to elect a U.S. senator to fill the seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Such a law would be consistent with the U.S. Constitution. The 17th Amendment expresses a clear preference for having the people of a state elect their U.S. senators. In keeping with the purpose of this amendment, the legislature may constitutionally change the current law to set an earlier date for the election to this U.S. senate seat. I am providing this opinion to offer guidance to the legislature as they consider this issue.”


  55. - Ruby - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:42 pm:

    There really are some fair and reasonable changes that could be made to SB2404:

    1. Drop the delay in compounded COLA. (choice B option 2 affecting Tier 1 Actives)

    2. Take current retirees out of the bill.

    3. Spread the impact of sacrifice equally to all who have benefited from state pension holidays.


  56. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:47 pm:

    Ruby, methinks you are unclear on the concept. The ball is going the other way. It’s not coming back your direction unless the Supremes strike down everything else.

    Try facing some reality here.


  57. - Ruby - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:55 pm:

    Unless I missed something, the Senate and the House still have competing bills. We do not know if either one will pass as is or modified.


  58. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    Try facing some reality here.

    In other words,

    On your side:
    The law

    On the other side:
    Those who make the law.
    Those who enforce the law.
    The Suits in Chicago.

    Undecided:
    Those who interpret the law.


  59. - RNUG Fan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 3:05 pm:

    We have been taking a beating for years now with the MSM taking the side of the whole civic committee/ALEC attacks. on teachers.
    On the tweets on Richs feeds was something like “there are 500,000 current and 200,000 wow that many ”
    Yeah that many the few have been after the many for quite a while.
    Well the many got together with the Senate democrats to help with the serious financial problems and now we have to make sure we show who is behind this stuff
    And we need to keep mobilizing the many and that includes U of I


  60. - pensioner - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    @ Ghost. Right you are.


  61. - martillo - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 7:46 pm:

    Thank you, this is a topic which is dear to my heart. Is there any way
    I can get in touch with you? My name’s Lucille Battles and I’d get into this more deeply.


  62. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 8:17 pm:

    Kadner hit the nail on the head!!!!!!!!!!


  63. - RNUG Fan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 8:28 pm:

    U of I is a member or was a member of the civic club or one of its affiliates and joined with the likes of Northwestern and the University of Chicago and the banksters which have eagerly stabbed them and you OP in the back
    U of I trustees as were all our presidents ready to sell us out while our Union Coalition was in serious talks. But those of us in the Union got a seat in Springfield and avoided that backstabbing. Join with us grubby little universities and work to get funding and save our schools
    We can start by supporting a bill to end MAP grants for the UC and NU


  64. - lost in the weeds - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 9:25 pm:

    Alledged pension liability is $100 billion to get to 100 percent funded. Why does the state need to save $150 billion with cuts to pensions and increases of employee contributions? Why does the pension system need to be 100 % funded now for the next 30 years of pensions?


  65. - RNUG Fan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 9:41 pm:

    It doesn’t need to be 100% funded in 30 years 70 would be just fine for an entity like a state
    Cullerton/Union aims for 90 but 70 would be OK


  66. - RNUG Fan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 9:52 pm:

    BTW Its IFT lobby day tomorrow
    Watch out for Teachers


  67. - RNUG Fan - Tuesday, May 14, 13 @ 10:12 pm:

    I think RNUG is right on MAAG and is right about 2404 legality. I support it I support the healthcare choices that everyone would get even if MAAG is a win. But there is a possibility that it might not pass the courts because the diminishment is so strong BUT unlike Madigan 1 its not an insult to the constitution that requires martial law


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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        * Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers..
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        * Cook County judge to address cameras in courtroom
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