Pension reform. It’s jamais vu all over again


This post by John Dillon continues the discussion from my previous post on the latest attempt at the theft of Illinois public employee pensions. The entire post can be found on John’s blog, Pension Vocabulary.

Often described as the opposite of déjà vu, jamais vu involves a sense of eeriness and the observer’s impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before. Jamais vu is sometimes associated with certain types of aphasia, amnesia, and epilepsy.

Even while youngsters learn to read, identifying letters and decoding them, they’re also learning how to comprehend.  The pedagogical belief used to identify 3rd grade as that sacred transition point shifting learning to read to reading to learn, but it’s more complicated and inter-connected than that.

As that steady change does take place, students become – like most adults – more self-aware about what they are or aren’t comprehending.  Ask any high school classroom if the students ever found themselves reading an entire page in an assignment only to realize they had no idea what they just read?  Every hand will go up.

The task for any serious teacher in any discipline is to provide for normal lapses in the night’s reading assignment by helping alleviate that common malady – providing a guide or overview, preparing a schema, checking for previous knowledge, identifying problematic vocabulary, discussing anticipatory responses, etc. & etc.  And, of course, teaching students themselves to do the same when they’re assigned some pages at the last minute as they hurry out the classroom door.


That’s my bumper sticker for this political year.  I think maybe Springfield needs a reading teacher for every legislator.  Maybe I’d negotiate a few less than one for each and every of the 177 members in the General Assembly.  Why…?

It’s pretty evident in the last few days that no one in the General Assembly really comprehended the 38 page judgment of the Illinois Supreme Court in unanimously striking down SB1 (also known as Public Act 98-599). Perhaps they read it, but my bet is their eyes glazed over and they just kept turning pages, vacationing in the font changes, and wondering when the assignment would come to an end.

It’s pretty obvious the new Governor’s had “his people” read it for him.  I’d push for at least two reading teachers for his office staff; maybe an extra three or four for him – if he read it at all.

Last week, Republican Leaders Durkin and Radogno announced a new bi-partisan pension reform bill.  Durkin, who told me last May he’d have a new pension reform plan with bi-partisan support despite the Supreme Court.  Durkin said he was willing to take a “leap of faith” in dealing with the other side.  Senate Leader Radogno added she considered the outcomes of this collaboration “puny” but “nothing to sneeze at.”

Despite the Governor’s announcement of a new bill for pension reform which modeled the earlier SB2404 of Senate Leader Cullerton, the opinion of the Illinois Supreme Court on May 8, 2015, was sharp well-defined in its message that even a choice of diminishments is strictly unconstitutional.

Citing Kanerva v. Weems, Justice Karmeier writes, “We held in that case that the clause (Pension Protection Clause) means precisely what it says: ‘if something qualifies as a benefit of the enforceable contractual relationship resulting from membership in one of the State’s pension or retirement systems, it cannot be diminished or impaired.’” ¶45.

Of course, by the time an excited Governor Rauner came to the microphone, he’d not only ignored the Court’s earlier decision but also added a new “agenda” wrinkle: the elimination of collective bargaining in his pension reform bill.

Cullerton was quick to remove himself from any part of this discussion of a bill similar in design to his own SB2404, except for the addition of the usual Rauner anti-union demand.

What triggered Rauner’s last minute addition of a “poison pill” to what might have been another attempt at pension theft in the General Assembly?

Is he as crazy as I sometimes think?

Barista:  “Welcome to Starbucks.  What can I get you?”

Rauner:  “How ‘bout a steamin’ venti skinny latte and no collective bargainin’?”

Or with his tanking numbers and inability to govern or do anything – is he reaching for any ally or any action, even if he realizes it can never come to fruition?

There’s more. Read the entire post at Pension Vocabulary.

6 Replies to “Pension reform. It’s jamais vu all over again”

  1. His inability to govern. Look at the last week …the stupid was flying. An agenda of crazy no one excpet a few tea party kooks wanted. The repubs as a party are dead and gone in Illinois. He has lost it and he cant deal with failure and he is in somd sort of Samson mode. And it may very well kill people….I think of the soon to be closed LSSI womens shelters and who knows what if he forces AFSCME out. At this point I blame the dems if somebody dies.Madigan compared this to Mich but unlike Mich the dems can stop it

    1. The Democrats fell one vote short of an override. At this point, the only way the Democrats could stop the Rauner cuts would be a surrender to Rauner. We need to elect more legislators who will vote to override Rauner. At least one to replace Dunkin, but more would be better. That will be hard because Dunkin will have almost unlimited campaign funding from Rauner.

      1. Don’t confuse a veto override with what is needed to pass a bill. While it is true that the Democrats have lost some veto override votes, nothing can pass the state legislature without a simple majority vote. With the exception of a budget vote depending on when an eventual budget agreement is reached. That is why both a state takeover of CPS or a Cullerton/Rauner pension theft bill are dead without Democratic Party agreement in both chambers. Possible. But not likely.

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