* You just gotta love stories like this…
House members have been told that a one-day session is anticipated. Senators also could wrap things up on Tuesday, although they’ve been told the session could extend an extra day.
That schedule, though, is drawing complaints from some lawmakers that the pension reform bill is being rushed through the legislature before people have a chance to fully grasp all of its details, particularly those people who will be affected by the changes.
“That’s not enough time to digest it,” said Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield. “You don’t give the people it affects enough time to do some research and crunch the numbers and see how it works. I think it puts everybody who’s affected by it at a serious disadvantage. Their people need a little time to digest this thing.”
Rep. Poe represents a kajillion state employees. There’s no way on God’s green Earth that he would be a “Yes” vote no matter how long they debated this bill.
Here’s a handy guide: Legislators who say they want to delay the vote are almost assuredly voting “No” anyway.
Look, there are very good reasons to have a full, open debate on this bill. But it’s so easy to use “debate” as an excuse, and far too easy for reporters to claim a legislative sentiment exists when everybody knows that the real reasons are quite different.
* Sen. Dillard may fall into that excuse category…
Dillard wants two days of hearings before the Senate so all sides can have a say.
Like the unions, Dillard questioned the constitutionality of the plan, saying it lacked a “true bargain,” or give and take, with employees over the changing of their benefits. Supportive lawmakers say the agreement satisfies constitutional requirements of such give-and-take considerations, noting that employees actually would be required to contribute 1 percentage point less from their paychecks toward their retirements.
Man, wouldn’t it be something if a guy who voted for every union-opposed pension reform bill ends up voting against this one because of “constitutional questions”? He really wants that AFSCME endorsement, eh?
* And another gubernatorial hopeful is trying to stay a bit too quiet…
Treasurer Dan Rutherford declined to comment on what’s viewed as one of the most pressing issues facing state government.
* From a Bill Brady statement…
Senator Dillard voted for the major provisions of this agreement last spring. Treasurer Rutherford as a constitutional fiscal officer certainly understands the dire consequences on state finances of continuing down the current path. Why are they silent now?
This is a time for leadership and hard decisions, not a time to stand on the sidelines. Pension reform is an issue of fiscal responsibility and the future of Illinois