Lawmakers are gearing up for a marathon debate on pensions. Several options are on the table including how much workers should contribute toward their pensions, whether to increase the retirement age, and if annual raises should be terminated altogether, or until the system is stabilized. Unions leaders don't like the proposals up for debate on Thursday. They call them a direct attack on pensions.
Speaking of unions, Illinois has reached a tentative deal with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. The two sides have been at the bargaining table for months. State workers have been working without a contract since last November, when Governor Quinn cancelled their contract. AFSCME reports their bargaining committee came to a deal just after midnight Thursday morning. The union had put its members on notice and had planned to strike if they didn't reach an agreement soon. The deal apparently averts that plan. No details of the deal have been released yet.
Also, assault weapons are up for discussion in Springfield. State reps are hearing from supporters and opponents of a proposed ban on the military style weapons and magazines. The Illinois State Police are backing the idea. But 73 of the state's 102 sheriff's don't support the idea. They say more gun laws won't do anything to reduce crime or treat mental illness.
(Posted 11:04 am 02/28/13, Metro News, by Ted Maguire)