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House sponsor of Cullerton pension bill: 'I'm not going to do anything on it'

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SPRINGFIELD-The House sponsor of pension legislation being pushed by Senate President John Cullerton said Monday she has no plans to call it for a vote before the lame-duck legislative session ends on Wednesday.

"I'm not going to do anything on it," said State Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park), who is the chief House sponsor of the bill containing Cullerton's pension plan.

That legislation, House Bill 1447, passed the Senate last May, and Cullerton - as recently as Saturday - demanded that the House allow a floor vote on it.

It applies to only two of the state's five retirement systems: those affecting current or retired workers in agencies under the governor's control and current or retired legislators.

It also contains language that makes retirees choose between getting either a 3-percent compounded annual cost-of-living increase or maintaining state-subsidized health insurance, but no longer both.

That choice, Cullerton has reasoned, makes it constitutional because lawmakers aren't voting to cut retirement benefits; pension system members are.

"I think it's incomplete because it only addresses [the General Assembly Retirement System] and [the State Employees Retirement System]," Burke said, adding that she hasn't been trying to put together a roll call on the legislation nor has she "talked to anybody" about it.

Burke called it "dormant."

A call to Cullerton's office was not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

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