The Illinois General Assembly failed to pass a much anticipated pension overhaul yesterday, its final day of the spring legislative session. The bill collapsed thanks to a dispute between House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) on whether the measure ought to shift the costs of educator's pensions from state government to local school bodies. At the behest of Gov. Pat Quinn, Madigan relented to Cross, and let him sponsor a pension package that did not include the cost shift. But then Madigan voted against the bill and enough Democrats fell in line with the speaker to kill the proposal.
Quinn said in a statement last night that he would meet with Cross, Madigan, and the leaders of the Illinois Senate in the coming days. Quinn likely will call back lawmakers for a rare summer session in order to enact a pension overhaul.
The surprise delay provides a brief respite for labor unions who assailed the bill as an unfair and possibly unlawful attack on public employees.