Lacking the votes necessary to pass SB 1673 on the House floor (outlined in the last Alliance Legislative Report), bill sponsors amended the bill to delete all of the pension reform provisions and add new provisions that establish a “Pension Review Commission.” As drafted in the amended bill, the eight Commission members (appointed by the legislative leaders) could draft any pension changes they wish to be enacted with the force of law without any further approval or legislative action by the General Assembly or the Governor.
This direct assault on the integrity of the Constitutional provisions for enacting legislation is perhaps the boldest of all pension reform proposals introduced to date. It removes all authority from individual members of the House of Representatives and Senate, and the Governor, to have any vote or input on pension legislation...
House Amendment #15, approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee at 3:00 this afternoon, was sent directly from the House floor to the committee hearing by waiving the necessary committee scheduling requirements. House rules require that before an amendment can be considered in a committee, the amendment must be posted for a hearing at least one hour in advance to allow for the public to be properly notified. However, the House conveniently "waived" the posting requirement and immediately convened the committee to consider the amendment.
The bill, as amended, now requires the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, the Minority Leader in the House, and the Minority Leader in the Senate to appoint two Commission members. The Commission, then, "shall determine the changes in law necessary to ensure that" the State pension systems "reach 100% actuarial funding." The entire text of the amendment can be found here.
The Commission must file a report by April 30, 2013. If both the House and Senate do not adopt a joint resolution that disapproves "the report of the Commission in whole" within 30 days - then the legislature shall certify the report and "the Governor shall sign" the proposal. Again, no changes or amendments can be made to the Commission's report - it must be take "in whole" by the legislature. Then, by doing absolutely nothing, the Commission plan becomes law. Not even the Governor has any option as he "shall sign" it. Ironically, Governor Pat Quinn testified in support of the amendment in committee.
This bill, as amended, may be called at any time. Please contact your legislators now. If the House approves this measure, it still must be approved by the Senate for final action. The legislative report is written and edited by the lobbyists of the Illinois Association of School Boards to provide information to the members of the organizations that comprise the Statewide School Management Alliance.
[Governor Quinn Fumbled]
House Speaker Michael Madigan made the motion to adjourn the chamber Tuesday just before 5 p.m. Members had expected to vote on a last-ditch attempt by Gov. Pat Quinn to save the broken-down pension talks. Quinn proposed setting up a commission that could recommend changes to bridge a $96 billion deficit in public-employee pension accounts. The commission had until April 30 to make recommendations, which would have taken effect unless the Legislature voted against them. Top lawmakers feared the move would have been illegal.