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Conference Committee Planned to Craft Compromise on Pension Reform
State lawmakers will return to Springfield Wednesday morning to deal with the state's $97 billion pension crisis.
Governor Quinn is calling the General Assembly back to the Capitol to find a solution.
Before most lawmakers set foot in Springfield, the governor already plans to call them back for a second special session in July.
At the request of the governor, the House speaker and Senate president agree to appoint a bipartisan conference committee to strike a compromise for pension reform.
"The folks in the legislature are familiar with the positions," House Speaker Michael Madigan said. "The people appointed to the committee will be good, competent people. I expect they'll consider every idea that's been advanced to date."
The goal is to break the stalemate.
At the center of it are two competing proposals for pension reform supported by the speaker of the House and Senate president.
The committee's job will be to work out the differences and come up with a compromise to present to the General Assembly.
"We haven't done this since 1992," said Republican Representative Darlene Senger. "The questions are who gets appointed to the committee. The other question is these things could go on forever."
The committee will include five lawmakers from each chamber.
The House speaker and Senate president will each appoint three, and the Republican leaders in each chamber will choose two.
The General Assembly is expected to put the wheels in motion to create the committee Wednesday
One day earlier, committees continued to hear testimony on the topic.
"We came to the table with Senate President John Cullerton," a union representative said. "And through a series of difficult and earnest negotiations, we crafted the agreement before you today."
Representatives for the employee unions say they're done compromising.
State university leaders proposed a new plan altogether to shift the cost of employees' pensions to the schools.
"We are at a competitive disadvantage in the circumstances we're in today," said University of Illinois President Robert Easter.
Madigan says the committee will meet over several weeks.
Whether a compromise will be ready by early July remains to be seen.
Here's a look at the two competing plans the committee will consider while compromising.
The House speaker wants employees to contribute more to their own retirement and work longer based on their age.
The Senate president supports giving employees and retirees a choice between maintaining cost of living increases or receiving health insurance when they retire.