Thursday, Dec 12, 2013
Lawmakers Avoid Controversial Bills This Year
WSIL TV -- At the state Capitol in Springfield, this was supposed to be a year of action. Lawmakers were expected to take on major issues, including gambling expansion, gay marriage, and pension reform. But as we head into the last week of the veto session, it's possible none of those will even get a vote.
Five months ago, Illinois lawmakers ended the legislative session without addressing some big topics and told constituents they'll likely have a deal ready by the fall veto session. So, what's happened?
It seems Illinois lawmakers, once again, can't find an agreement on a gambling bill, gay marriage, or more importantly, a pension solution. And they're going to kick the can down the road once more.
"I honestly thought it would have been done by now," says representative Mike Bost.
Bost says he was extremely confident that a pension solution would finally happen this year. He blames the democratic leadership for failing to reach a compromise.
"I don't know whether they're playing chicken or finally, somebody is going to flinch and we're going to actually get done what's right for the people," Bost explains.
Representative John Bradley exclaims "I'm prepared to support something that fixes the problem."
Bradley says he still believes a compromise might happen before the end of the veto session, but is not willing to put a timetable on the matter.
"People forget that these are very heavy lifts and sometimes people that get involved in these issues, they overstate them, they get excited, and they think things are going to get done before they're actually going to get done," he explains.
But David Yepsen with the Paul Simon institute says the longer these issues are delayed, the closer we get to election season when it will be much harder to take controversial votes.
"I think the best time to have gotten this done was earlier, right after the election last year, when people would have plenty of time to forget about it, to talk about other issues," says Yepsen.
Moody's has already lowered Illinois' credit rating because of the pension issue. That affects state and local government's ability to borrow money.
The General Assembly will convene in Springfield next Tuesday through Thursday. Look for coverage right here on News 3.
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