Pension Reform, Same-Sex Marriage, Gambling Expansion Fizzle In Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS/AP) — Illinois lawmakers have again failed to reach an agreement on how to fix the state’s nearly $100 billion pension problem, and bill sponsors for same-sex marriage and gambling expansion also threw in the towel as the clock ran out in Springfield.
Gov. Pat Quinn and legislators had said addressing the pension crisis was their top priority this session. But the House and Senate passed competing legislation earlier this month, and lawmakers weren’t able to agree on which measure to send to the governor. Friday was the final day of the session.
The inaction means soaring pension payments will continue to squeeze the state budget. It also could prompt credit rating agencies to further downgrade Illinois’ rating, increasing the cost of borrowing.
Meanwhile, the House sponsor of Illinois legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry says he doesn’t have the votes to pass it and won’t call the bill.
Supporters filled the House gallery Friday in hopes the measure would be called. The bill cleared the Senate in February.
But Rep. Greg Harris says several of his colleagues have told him they wouldn’t vote for the bill, leaving him short of the 60 he needed to pass the chamber.
Opponents say marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Also Friday, the sponsor of a bill that would have added five new casinos in Illinois said he won’t be calling the bill.
Rep. Robert Rita is the gambling bill’s sponsor. His spokesman Ryan Keith told The Associated Press Friday that too many issues remain and a deal couldn’t be negotiated.
Rita planned to hold a briefing as both chambers still had numerous issues to tackle before Friday’s adjournment.
This bill had been seen as the best shot yet. Quinn had twice rejected plans, but publicly signaled earlier this year that he was open to the idea if it had ethical oversight and he got a pension deal first.
Last-minute negotiations centered on oversight of a Chicago casino.
Proponents touted it as a civil rights matter, and Quinn had pledged to sign it into law if it reached his desk.
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