Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Madigan-backed pension fails in Illinois Senate

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***Update ***

Senate Bill 1 just failed in the senate debate.

In a last-minute switch, a comprehensive pension reform bill backed by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is being heard on the Senate floor right now -- instead of the Senate Executive Committee.

The change-up seemed to surprise some members of Gov. Quinn's office who were waiting for the bill to be called in the committee and headed to the Senate floor appearing surprised.

Republicans surmised before the floor debate began that Senate President John Cullerton was calling the bill for a vote so it would meet its swift demise.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard shook his head, telling the Sun-Times that the state's pension turmoil was on the cusp of a massive improvement.

"We were one hour away from finally putting us on a road to fiscal solvency," Dillard said, predicting it would have taken that long for it to win approval. "I find it incredible he cannot find six votes on his side of the aisle to pass this measure."

During the debate, Republicans pushed for the measure to pass while Democrats pointed to Cullerton's long-contention that the measure was not constitutional.

"Quite frankly, ladies and gentleman, it is showtime right now," said GOP Illinois Sen. Christine Radogno, urging passage. "It is the most comprehensive one we've seen."

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