Illinois House back in session August 17th. A pension bill might be on the agenda.

CapitalFax is reporting that the Illinois House might meet for a week beginning August 17th.

Most of the media is reporting that the purpose of the session is to deal with another one of their members who is under federal indictment.

But of more concern than one more crooked House member is HB1447. The bill goes after state employee pension COLAs. The Senate has already passed this pension bill and Senate President John Cullerton says that he won’t call his body (heh) back into session before the election.

But all that has to happen is for the House to pass it (as Senator Kotowski is demanding in the post below) and the bill becomes law with the Governor’s signature.

However, the Governor could call the Senate back into session anyway if there is agreement on broader pension attacks.

Summer is a tough time for lobbying since most teachers are out of school.

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Will the fear of a voter backlash push pension bill until after November? (Correction)

Rich Miller writes to say that I was not accurate in how I intepreted his article, linked here and in the post below. Rich says that he “never wrote that there wouldn’t be a pension deal this summer or that it would be put off until after november. I love your stuff, Fred, but please either correct that post or tell me where you saw me write what you say I wrote.”

Well, I have no interest in misquoting Rich Miller, who is a great source for Springfield information. What I took away from his article linked below was that the legislative leaders and the Governor would be trying to come to some agreement this summer, but that the GA would likely not meet and that:

The Republicans (and downstate and suburban Democrats) are so completely against any talk of shifting pension costs to school districts — even if they’re phased in over several years — that the issue appears almost impossible to resolve.

But Madigan and Emanuel know that there’s probably no better vehicle to attach the idea to than the politically important issue of pension reform, so they’re not giving up, either. The solution might be getting more school more money for Chicago, perhaps in a way that gives additional cash to education in general.

Then again, there’s been little willingness on Madigan’s part to move forward with a highly controversial pension bill that riles up teachers before the Nov. 6 election, when all 177 seats in the Legislature are up for election, many in new districts.

Perhaps I read too much into that, and I stand corrected.


Capitalfax’s Rich Miller is predicting that there will be no summer pension bill, in spite of GOP House Leader Tom Cross claiming it was “summer work,” after he pulled the plug on the bill last week.

They will try to resurrect it after the November elections.

He gives two reasons for his prediction.

Since there is no deal, a summer session would have legislators back in Springfield talking trash about the leadership, including one-term Governor Quinn.

And there is a big concern about a voter backlash at the polls in November.

See, teachers are spread out all over the state, in every legislative district. 360,000 members of TRS and their families and their friends. Maybe a million votes.

I notice that the IEA has scheduled a number of recommendation hearings over the next few weeks. Local leaders will be making recommendations to IPACE on who we should vote for in November. I hope those local leaders will demand a pledge from candidates to vote against any unconstitutional bill, any bill that demands a greater teacher contribution from members or diminishes our benefits. No pledge – no recommendation.

Meanwhile, Miller figures that nothing will happen until after the election.

And maybe by then the leadership of the IEA and the IFT will have come up with a plan to lead another fight. Maybe sooner?

Probably not.

But hope springs eternal.


Word is there is deal making going on today in Springfield between GOP House Leader Tom Cross and Democratic Party Chairman and Speaker Michael Madigan over the pension bill.

If Cross doesn’t get something then he won’t support the Democrat’s pension bill.

Reminder: The Democrats pension bill will force teachers to choose between a cost of living adjustment in their retirement plan and health insurance.

Madigan believes that providing this choice makes the bill constitutional.

No it doesn’t.

If Madigan and Cross can come to an agreement, the bill will emerge  tomorrow with a number attached.

Even that doesn’t guarantee passage.

Not all Republicans will go with it. Some Democrats will show courage and say no. Although courageous Democrat appears to be an oxymoron.

What gives a Democrat spine is lots of voters calling them.

1 888 412 6570. Follow the prompts.

Madigan keeps his and takes ours. His pension plan.

Following up on a Tribune report showing that Democratic Party Chairman and Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan will collect 137% of his present salary due to COLA increases, Madigan targeted teacher COLA increases as the “engine driving pension costs.”

Today he presented the outline of his pension bill. It will force state employees to choose between reduced COLA payments or health insurance. This, he claims, makes the proposal constitutional.

If it passes, a judge will decide that.

The plan will also shift the state’s pension obligation to the school districts. That proposal would mean no more pay raises for teachers. Ever.

Madigan’s plan is devilishly designed to create multiple layers of pensioners. They already have created two tiers. If this works, we will have a tier of young teachers. A tier of active teachers. A tier of retired teachers.

Soon a tier of Wal-Mart teachers.

And meanwhile Madigan keeps his.

Madigan always keeps his.

Divide and conquer on pensions?

Rich Miller, who puts out the authoritative CapitolFax, reports in a copyrighted story that a fight has developed between Governor Quinn and some legislative leaders over the tactics of dealing with state pensions.

Some legislators, who are terrified of the electoral repercussions of voting against teachers before the November election want to separate out TRS from the other state and university employee pensions.


University employees tend to be concentrated in pockets while teachers are dispersed throughout the state in every legislative district.

Governor Quinn is trying to prevent the move to delay.

This is an interesting problem for union leadership which has been focused on trying to slow sown what they call fast-tracking any pension bill.

But fast-tracking may spell defeat for any pension bill, while a delay until after the November elections will free up legislators to do their evil deeds.

Tough call.

In the mean time, make your phone calls anyway. That’s the immediate and necessary thing.