IL lawmakers adjourn, leave some big issues unresolved

Jun 1, 2013

The Illinois General Assembly ended its 2013 session last night. As IPR’s Brian Mackey reports, it's more likely to be remembered for what was not accomplished than for what was.

 Illinois lawmakers have spent several years talking about the need to fix what's now a $100-billion pension problem.

So when it became clear that they would be leaving town without agreeing on a fix, the disappointment was palpable.

 "Obviously this is a session where we have not enjoyed a great deal of success."

 Mike Madigan is Speaker of the House. His pension plan failed spectacularly in the Senate.

Madigan has significant differences with Senate President John Cullerton over how to address pensions, and their lack of agreement led to an angry statement from Gov. Pat Quinn.Cullerton took it in stride. "It's not because we didn't try … and people shouldn’t be, you know, there’s no blame to go around. It's just people have different positions and it's difficult to get 30 votes on it." Lawmakers also rejected a plan to shift pension costs from the state to colleges and universities.Few issues attracted as much attention as same-sex marriage, but that didn't even get a vote. Rep. Greg Harris, the Chicago Democrat who sponsored the legislation, says he did not think he had enough support to get it passed. In an emotional speech, he said some lawmakers promised to back same-sex marriage when they return to Springfield in the fall. "Until that day I apologize to the families who were hoping to wake up tomorrow as full and equal citizens of this state." Despite that unfinished business, lawmakers did approve regulations for hydraulic fracturing, as well as a system to allow people to carry concealed firearms.Lawmakers aren't scheduled to return to Springfield until October, but Quinn says he plans to meet with House and Senate leaders on pensions next week.