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Madigan guts Cullerton’s pension bill

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* House Speaker Michael Madigan gutted Senate President John Cullerton’s pension reform bill today and replaced the language with an amendment which appears to contain Madigan’s own original bill. That bill, of course, died in the Senate last month.

From Rep. Elaine Nekritz’s spokesperson…

A House Personnel and Pensions Committee hearing has been scheduled for next Tuesday, June 18, at 4:30 pm in Room 114 of the Capitol. On the agenda is House Amendment 1 to SB 2404, sponsored by Speaker Madigan.

I am told it is the same language that the House had already passed in Senate Bill 1. An immediate effective date might not be included, which would mean the bill could pass with a simple majority and become law next June.

Rep. Nekritz tells me the intent is for the bill to move out of the committee that day.

* Man, that’s a real slap in Cullerton’s face. I’m told Madigan did call Cullerton, but I doubt he’s all that happy.

The official statement from Cullerton’s spokesperson…

Senators were given the chance to vote on the House pension bill. Members of the House should have that opportunity to vote on the plan that passed the Senate with overwhelming support. That’s how this should work.

President Cullerton still intends to advance the compromise bill requested by Governor Quinn.

But I’m sure it’s all part of the Tribune’s grand conspiracy theory. No doubt.



  1. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    “Look kids. Big Ben. Parliament.”

    We are stuck in a round-a-bout.

  2. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    Forget dialogue, diplomacy or statesmanship.

    That is straight-up childhood bullying.

    “Look, I know you have the only bill that would likely make it through both chambers.

    And I know you called my bill for a vote but I didn’t call yours for a vote because that would mean you win.

    But I’m going to double down on my proposal and expect everyone else to give in anyways.”

  3. - haverford - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    This isn’t going to be exactly profound, but: Wow.

  4. - In the know - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:34 pm:

    okay, so at what point do we have to acknowledge that its personal. Sheesh. For the 3 dimensional chess player who is process and not policy oriented, this seems increasingly petty. attilla the hun was more diplomatic, at least he let ONE of the villagers alive to run ahead and tell his tale. This will be a real test of resolve and caucus discipline for Cullerton.

  5. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:34 pm:

    I’ve said this before, but the more I see these games played where only Madigan’s language is going to see the light of day, the more I’m convinced it is all a game orchestrated by Madigan to back the IL SC into making a ruling of unconstitutionality. That will then “force” the GA to raise taxes while the IL SC gets the blame.

    It will be very interesting to see exactly what ruling the IL SC issues and even more interesting to see specifically how it is phrased … they were been pretty blunt when they slapped Blago down.

  6. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:35 pm:

    What happened to the leaders meeting behind closed doors to has this kind of stuff out? This is ridiculous.

  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:35 pm:

    With friends like that….

  8. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    RNUG- how exactly does that help Madigan when his targets and potentially his daughter would have to campaign with that over their heads?

  9. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    should have added … my previous comments presume that MJM somehow gets his bill passed

    If MJM doesn’t get his bill, then all the blame will be on Cullerton

  10. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:37 pm:

    Perhaps instead of turning his cheek for a fortieth time, Cullerton needs to put 2404 on a House Bill and send it back to the House and then adjourn the Senate Special Session. Clearly Madigan doesn’t want to compromise. Right now Cullerton looks like the adult to all but the fire-eaters by having the Senate vote on Madigan’s bill. Madigan’s poor response to ABC’s stalking story also hurt his standing on the issue.

    So instead of doing his silly diplomatic dance, Cullerton needs to take action to show that the Senate is not going to play Madigan’s game. If he blinks on this one, his caucus becomes a non-issue as much as the GOP caucus. This will be the Madigan General Assembly.

  11. - Cassiopeia - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:39 pm:

    This has gone beyond childish. MJM has lost his way. To engage in this sort of very public spat his diminished the Speaker to a bitter old man, well past his prime.

  12. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    “Keeping it Simple.”

  13. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    I happen to agree with Madigan’s bill over Cullerton’s bill- there’s a chance either bill could be ruled constitutional, so I’d take the risk and go for the bigger cost savings.

    But Speaker Madigan’s approach couldn’t be more childish: he fails to work with Quinn and Cullerton on compromise, and instead personally insults them both.

  14. - biased observer - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:48 pm:

    as I said, things are going to get interesting….

    RNUG may be onto something. He usually is.

    IL supreme court get ready to feel the heat. If the upcoming elections continue increase public awareness of these issues, things could get really interesting with the different political forces involved.

  15. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:48 pm:

    AA - LOL

    Madigan must think it’s simpler to muscle his members to vote for SB 1, than to force them to vote against 2404.

  16. - cassandra - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:53 pm:

    I don’t think Madigan has ever lost his way, in the sense that he isn’t clear about what he is trying to do.

    And if protecting the Party is a big priority, getting the Illinois SCt to rule the bill unconstitutional, as RNUG suggests above, makes a lot of sense especially since the Democrats, in our one-party state, will have to take full responsibility for any “reform” bill and its outcomes. Sure, Republicans are making noises about reform but I think most Ill. citizens probably realize they are living in a one-party state now, one where Republicans have about as much heft as, say the Green Party or the libertarians. It’s all on the Dems. Who would have thought.

    Anyway, there will probably be a stay until the court makes a decision. So the run on retiree cash won’t begin immediately. And very possibly never.

  17. - The Man Who Parks Beside You - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 1:57 pm:

    I have to say, this conspiracy theory that MJM and Cullerton are in cahoots to tank pension reform makes little sense. If MJM ‘s endgame in all of this is to help Lisa, wouldn’t getting SB 1 to the gov’s desk be the best way to achieve that goal? If Quinnikins signed SB 1, he’d be persona non-grata with the unions in the upcoming Democratic gov primary. All of the antipathy and the hard feelings built up over the past few years between labor and the gov would come roaring back with a vengeance. If Lisa can’t win over the unions in the primary, then the best she can hope for would be to force them to the sidelines (I seriously doubt labor would support Bill Daley because he’s spoken favorably about SB 1). Also, the enactment of SB 1, if upheld by the courts, would free up a considerable amount of money and almost guarantee that Lisa wouldn’t have to spend every waking moment of her first term in office dealing with pensions – instead, she could move on to more popular issues. One thing that the conspiracy theorists haven’t explained is how the election of Lisa as gov would cause JC to change his adamantine position that “consideration” is the only constitutional approach to pension reform.

  18. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:01 pm:


  19. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    Boone’s is Back @ 1:36 pm:

    If you look at the numbers honestly and ignore the politics, it’s clear revenue needs to go up and spending down, but there isn’t a lot of spending that can be cut (other than some pork barrel). Sooner or later there will have to be a vote to raise taxes. The way things are shaping up, increased taxes are going to be THE issue in the next general election.

    Someone is going to wear the blame for the multiple tax increases (I’m guessing sales tax on services and permanent income tax rate). If I’m right, MJM and the Dem party will be able to place the blame on the IL SC. I can see the ads now, something along the lines of “we tried to fix the pension problem but judges didn’t allow it”

  20. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:02 pm:

    Norseman: besides Cullerton saying stop the bullying, when will the people of IL decide they have had enough of this ego and bluster by the Speaker? Can he be publicly humiliated in the legislature next week? Vote of no confidance by House Dems? Nah, I guess everyone is too afraid of him and his wrath. He’s the worst of the worst. God help us, this man has no shame.

  21. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:02 pm:

    When can the house members vote Madigan out? After all, he’s dragging them down under his speakership.

  22. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    Speaking of a failure of leadership, isn’t changing the effective date an admission that Madigan cannot get 71 votes for SB1?

  23. - Calhoun Native - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    We all fade eventually and our weaknesses overtake our strengths. I think we are seeing the former chess master’s petulance beginning to outpace any remaining political and interpersonal skills.

  24. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    === PublicServant - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:02 pm:

    When can the house members vote Madigan out? After all, he’s dragging them down under his speakership. ===

    Do you really think they would? Why? What would be their reason? BTW - do you know the history behind the ability of MJM to amass such power as the Speaker?

  25. - low level - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:21 pm:

    Just in terms of legislative logistics, might we actually see a conference committee once MJM and the House pass the amended SB2404 back to the Senate? Haven’t seen one of those in years.

  26. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:21 pm:

    Maybe the Speaker is not a chess master, but maybe we are all pawns.

  27. - WizzardOfOzzie - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:22 pm:

    Madigan muscled a bill out of the House that he knew wouldn’t pass in the Senate. If he really cared about the savings first and foremost there would be no reason for him not to support the combined bill.

    He knows Cullerton’s bill would pass easily and is bottling it up so that nothing gets done. The narrative of ineffective Governor has already begun.

    By passing it, the Speaker is able to wash his hands of the pension mess.

    If anyone thinks that after years of total disregard for the fiscal well-being of the State the Speaker now demands that our pension crisis needs immediate fixing… well, then I have an ocean-view home in Cahokia I’d like to sell you.

    Just like everything the Speaker does, this is about politics… not policy.

  28. - TheV - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    Madigan is a class A jerk! Call the original SB2404 - man up! Act like a man - not a baby!

  29. - My Thoughts For Whatever - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    Would anybody expect anything less than what we are currently seeing from Madigan?

  30. - mid-level - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    Maybe Madigan is just passing as many pension bills as he can so that he can say, “we have sent ## pension bills to the Senate and they voted everyone of them down.”

  31. - Ret. Professor - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:39 pm:

    I expect to see Cullerton’s bill tied to the cost shift.

  32. - Beardo - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    ===low level 2:21 “Just in terms of legislative logistics, might we actually see a conference committee”===

    Doubtful, right? But I love the idea.

  33. - Been There - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    ===I expect to see Cullerton’s bill tied to the cost shift.===
    Looks like you are at least partially correct. Exec committee is taking up a Higher Ed pension plan and then added the House amendments that cost shifted for the universities. These amendments have already lost on a concurrence vote so I don’t know whats up with this.

  34. - Roadiepig - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 4:05 pm:

    RNUG- have you tried to find and read the amendment? I am doing something wrong because all I can pull up on my phone is the bill as passed by the senate. You are good at reading and understanding the bills so I am curious what you make of the amendment

  35. - James Beal - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 4:30 pm:

    IEA should drop its opposition to local cost shift. This is what Madigan is holding out for.

    Our pension is more important than trying to solve school funding issues. The cost shift would better protect funning since the GA can force school districts to pay, but it cannot force itself.

    It is time to narrow the focus and protect union members.

  36. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 4:59 pm:


    love your civic attitude. make sure we get ours, forget everyone else.

  37. - Joe M - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 5:04 pm:

    Link to Madigan’s House Amendment 1 version of SB 2404, filed 6/12/2013

  38. - Mouthy - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 5:09 pm:

    So, The speaker took the poisoning route. No surprise here.

  39. - Steve Brown - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 5:34 pm:

    I think some are out over their skis today
    Rules committee approved SB2404 for the pensions committee. Rules also approved an amendment that tracks SB1 as amended.
    Both are options
    The Speaker continues to believe the best course of action is one on one lobbying by the Governor and Senate President to pass SB 1 as amended and the end of the free lunch for higher ed pension system.

  40. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 6:00 pm:

    Roadiepig @ 4:05 pm:

    I’m out of state traveling. On and off the net. Will try to scan the bill later tonight.

    You have to pull up SB2404, full text, then house amendment 1. I see -Joe M- posted a link already.

  41. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 6:06 pm:

    If at first you don’t succeed, then:

    - concede nothing
    - repeat yourself
    - make sure the “other guys” never get a vote in your chamber

    If the above steps fail, then try bullying your colleagues into compliance.

    Interesting approach to diplomacy and governance.

  42. - Dude Abides - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 8:00 pm:

    Formerly Known As, that kind of neatly sums it up. Cullerton has given Madigan’s plan two votes, both of which have failed. Madigan has yet to give Cullerton a single vote on his plan. Cullerton’s plan received more support in the Senate than Madigan’s plan received in the House. Now the plan is to bully the Senate into voting for the Madigan plan the 3rd time around. Meanwhile the plan which enjoys the most support (Cullerton) will never get a vote in the House. The sad truth is that voter representation hasn’t existed in Illinois for a long time. Strong arm tactics by a few powerful people has been the order of the day for a long time in Illinois. You be the judge of how well it has worked for us. Now with this important issue before us the MJM option is to pursue the same tried and true tactics again. If the Senate caves you should expect nothing good for Illinois to come of it.

  43. - Hawkeytown - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 9:33 pm:

    More gimmickry and gamesmanship from Madigan.

  44. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 9:41 pm:

    RE SB2404-HA1

    It reads mostly like MJM’s SB0001 rewrite but there are a few differences. I’ll probably miss some of the differences because I don’t have my reference notes of SB0001 with me. Notes below not necessarily in same order as bill.

    Salary cap of $106,800 but increases at lesser of 3% or CPI-U for Tier 1; has the same contract loophole until the contract is renewed

    Same age bumps as before, depending on current employee age

    Looks like the AAI cap is the less of 3% of current annuity or $1,000 * years of service … which is a change from the $600 (coordinated) / $750 (uncoordinated) cap previously

    Has the 5 year AAI “holiday” or age 67, does not affect previously granted AAIs

    100% funding by 2044

    Takes the current pension bond payments and reassigns them to the pension stabilization fund once the bonds are paid off

    Contributions contractually mandated, right for the retirement systems to sue, no individual retiree right to sue

    Funding guarantee is not unlimited, explicitly subordinated to bonds (which is new language but the same as SB0001 as amended by MJM), so between this and no individual right to sue, the guarantee isn’t really worth very much

    Additional 1% / 2% contributions by employees

    Unused sick / vacation time don’t count in service time calculations for new hires

    Can’t use any contributions to subsidize health insurance

    New language 115 ILCS 5/10.5 that removes pension issues from bargaining. IMO, this reads like a Trojan Horse to open the door to allow future changes.

    -Old And In The Way- take a look at 115 ILCS 5/10.5 in the proposed bill and see what you think about the language.

    There were one or two more items I caught but I can’t remember what I typed a 1/2 hour ago before I lost it to a finger check. There might also be some individual retirement system specific items I didn’t catch because I didn’t fully read all the change language 5 times. Anyway, this gives all you all (I’m deep in Dixie country) a rough idea of what is in this version of the bill.

  45. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 10:21 pm:

    RNUG - As noted above by Rich, Nekritz’s spokesperson said that this is SB 1 minus the effective date. I’ve spot checked a few things and didn’t find any differences so I believe this to be the case.

  46. - mokenavince - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 10:34 pm:

    Pass Madigan’s bill ,turn the page. Enough of the BS.

  47. - Roadiepig - Wednesday, Jun 12, 13 @ 11:50 pm:

    RNUG- thanks for the research!

    So it seems Madigan isn’t willing to allow the house to vote on any bill that he hasn’t concocted himself . If this doesn’t show to anyone that follows state government that Madigan is the true boss of state government I don’t know what it would take to convince them

  48. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, Jun 13, 13 @ 12:18 am:


    late night and long day. I concur….it is really a means to ensure that future changes are possible/legal which to me means there WILL be changes. The speaker really doesn’t like bargaining with labor on even terms……really who does?

  49. - RNUG - Thursday, Jun 13, 13 @ 7:07 am:

    Scanned it again this morning when I was more awake. Caught one change to the AAI that I missed last night. The $1,000 * years of service is for uncoordinated members; for coordinated members it is $800 * years of service.

  50. - RNUG - Thursday, Jun 13, 13 @ 7:08 am:


    It’s mostly the same as the gutted and amended SB0001, but there are a few subtle differences.

  51. - Another Anon - Thursday, Jun 13, 13 @ 8:54 am:

    One thing is perfectly clear….IT IS TIME FOR NEW LEADERSHIP IN THE HOUSE. If you had to point to a single person that bears the most blame for the pension mess…it would be Madigan. He has presided over most of the “pension holidays” and raids on the pension funds during his tenure. Anyone who prefers the house plan over the senate plan clearly has no skin in the game. I do however agree with ending the “free lunch” enjoyed by higher education, ending the abuses by local school districts, and most importantly, ending legislative abuses (quite little amendments that translate to massive pension increases for selected members. Let’s start with ending pensions for part-time workers….members of the general assembly. They aren’t doing anything productive anyway.

  52. - Joe M - Thursday, Jun 13, 13 @ 9:09 am:

    ==I think some are out over their skis today
    Rules committee approved SB2404 for the pensions committee. Rules also approved an amendment that tracks SB1 as amended. Both are options== - from Steve Brown.

    That is all fine and good, but the real question is, “Will Madiagan allow Cullerton’s SB 2404 for a vote before the full House?” And if not, why?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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