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How Successful are Special Sessions?
Both the Illinois House and Senate return Wednesday to continue to work on trying to fix a problem that has spawned several administrations. Governor Quinn called a special session to address the pension crisis.
Last year, Governor Quinn called a Special Session to deal with what was then a more than $80 billion dollar pension problem but nothing happened. Now, that problem has grown to nearly $100 billion dollars and another Special Session is set for Wednesday.
"Special sessions can get called, people show up, nothing gets done," Ray Long from the Chicago Tribune said. "You really need to work out a deal beforehand to forge something the rest of the legislature can deal with and take a vote on."
Long has covered Illinois politics since 1981 and been with the Chicago Tribune since 1998. He says Special Sessions are traditionally not very successful or special.
"What it's inching toward, if it gets worse, was sort of the time Governor Blagojevich was in office and they couldn't reach different deals on budgets and things like that," Long said.
Many will watch to see if anything is sent to Governor Quinn. That includes state agencies, credit rating agencies, and AFSCME, a union that represents thousands of state workers.
"We agree there's a problem and our members have always been willing to try to solve that problem," Joanna Webb-Gauvin from AFSCME said. "They just wanted a constitutional and fair solution."
That's why AFSCME supports a pension reform plan from Senate President John Cullerton. His plan competes with a plan from House Speaker Michael Madigan. But if the end of the regular session is any indication, neither plan looks like it will hit Quinn's desk on Wednesday.