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Political Expert Questions Conference Committee

In a rarely used maneuver in Illinois, a panel of 10 lawmakers will form a conference committee to resolve differences between House and Senate pension legislation.

The speaker of the House and president of the Senate have agreed to the governor’s suggestion of this remedy to the differences over the best way to stabilize the state’s $100 billion underfunding of public pension systems.

A longtime political watcher, though, is underwhelmed.

“It allows them to appear like they are doing something,” says political science professor Kent Redfield of the University of Illinois at Springfield. “The reality is something will move when the speaker and the Senate president agree it’s going to move.”

A spokeswoman for the governor’s office says the plan is for Wednesday’s special session to result in establishment of the conference committee, whose report would see a vote in another special session in, quoting the spokeswoman, “early July.”