SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois House returns to work as the General Assembly gears up for a spring session that promises a continuing struggle over how to close a $96 billion funding gap in the state's public-employee pension system.
House members will be in session Wednesday and Thursday. Their Senate counterparts return next week and both houses will meet in joint session Feb. 6 for Gov. Pat Quinn's State of the State address.
Lawmakers were last in Springfield on Jan. 9 for the inauguration of the 98th General Assembly and met briefly the following day.
That meeting followed a furious but disappointing six days closing the last session. Lame-duck lawmakers failed to ink a deal to remedy years of pension underfunding and reduce the multibillion-dollar annual payment to retirement programs.