Proposal: Focus only on pensions

Published 02/28 2013 10:43PM

Updated 03/01 2013 09:47AM

SPRINGFIELD -- After three years of work on pension reform with no result, one lawmaker is calling for a change in the process. Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) proposed a full-time committee of the whole devoted to finding a solution to the state's pension crisis.

It would require the full house to put all other business aside and only debate pensions until there is a solution. Under the rules of a committee of the whole, people would be able to testify in front of the full house, instead of a smaller committee.

House Republican leader Tom Cross said he liked the idea and hoped to meet with House Speaker Mike Madigan to discuss it. It's unclear whether that meeting ever took place.

An expert on Illinois government said committees of the whole rarely produce results and likely wouldn't generate a solution to the problem. But he did say lawmakers could use it as an informational tool.

The state's unfunded pension liability inches closer to $100 billion each day. Gov. Pat Quinn estimated the state losses at $17 million each day the problem goes unsolved.

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