Reformers named to pension conference committee

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Legislative leaders today started adding members to the conference committee that will be charged with somehow finding a compromise on Illinois pension reform, and the initial list is promising for those who want a big solution.
Both of the original authors of the toughest bill that's passed either the Senate or the House — Sen. Dan Biss, D-Evanston, and Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook — are being included on the 10-member panel.
Mr. Biss was named along with Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, and Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, by Senate President John Cullerton. Mr. Raoul will be chairman. Like most Chicago Democrats, he's close to labor, but he also knows how to count.
“I encourage all appointees to engage this process in good faith in order to develop an effective and cost-saving compromise that can become law," Mr. Cullerton said in a statement.
House Speaker Michael Madigan named Ms. Nekritz along with two strong allies, Chicago Democrats Art Turner and Mike Zalewski.
Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno selected Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine, her point person on budget matters, and Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, a previous GOP gubernatorial nominee. House GOP Leader Tom Cross has not announced his selections yet.
Look for the panel to report sometime in July — in other words, not by the July 9 deadline set by Gov. Pat Quinn — after what could be some contentious meetings.