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Conference Committee to Meet Again Next Week
The state lawmakers who are supposed to be overcoming a stalemate on public pension reform are spending a lot of time discussing the deadline for them to complete their work.
The chairman of the state legislature’s conference committee on pension reform is indicating that the committee shouldn’t feel bound by Governor Quinn’s July 9th deadline.  State Senator Kwame Raoul says the committee should consider more ideas than just those contained in the two competing bills that failed to win passage last month.
The governor gave them until July 9. State Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) hopes the 10-member conference committee can blow the deadline and still be in the governor’s good graces.
“If we wanna be comprehensive and fully do something that will be meaningful, and it doesn’t come by July 9, I hope we can still get his support down the line,” he said while administration witness Jerry Stermer, head of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, was on the witness stand.
But State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) says the committee can meet the deadline. “Whether or not we’re gonna go … all the way to agreement, committee report, bill out of both chambers and on his desk by July 9 is maybe a little ambitions, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for this committee to have their report completed by then,” he said.
State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) doesn’t want to be hasty, especially if the committee devises new formulas that require actuarial analysis, which take time.
Meanwhile, a coalition of unions say they still consider the bill backed by Senate President John Cullerton the best option.  That bill doesn’t reduce the 100-billion-dollar liability as much as House Speaker Michael Madigan’s plan, but backers say it will withstand a legal challenge.
The committee met for the first time on Thursday. They’ll meet again next Wednesday (July 3).