The inauguration of Illinois' 98th General Assembly marked yet another legislative session under Speaker Michael Madigan's reign. Unfortunately, time is up and the same faces in the General Assembly need to stick their necks out and help reform our pension system.
As a freshmen legislator, this is my top priority. I have been and will continue to be very vocal and persistent with my colleagues at the Statehouse to find a compromise and pass pension reform legislation for the sake of our state. Republican leader Tom Cross and state Rep. Darlene Senger have done a solid job of promoting real reform. The major problem is that Speaker Madigan won't allow viable legislation to move forward on the floor.
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Let's put the most recent bipartisan bill with no cost-shift on the floor as the base bill. Let's have an open rule that would allow a reasonable amount of amendments to be voted on. A lot of members have stated specific objections to the bill. Let those members propose amendments, and we should vote on them. For example, I would support an amendment to make local school districts responsible for increased pension costs resulting from end-of-career pay increases that exceed the rate of inflation. The current 6 percent cap is too high.
I don't care what side of the aisle you are on -- it's time for immediate action. I'm willing to work around the clock to combat years of complacency and inaction. We cannot have another legislative session day, like Jan. 10, that lasts less than 15 minutes while the house is burning and I'm sounding the alarm.
State Rep. David McSweeney