Illinois lawmakers began November with an election that solidified Democratic majorities and they will finish the month by returning to the Capitol.
Their annual fall meetings are called veto sessions because lawmakers are supposed to consider legislation the governor rejected or changed. Those could include statewide regulation of plastic bags and a plan to let cancer treatment centers reject job applicants who smoke.
Most Illinoisans seem torn between anger about state pensioners supposedly getting rich off taxpayers, and concern about state-worker neighbors caught between incompetent lawmakers and greedy credit agencies in cahoots with big banks. The real debate should be one timid types in Springfield (or Washington) avoid: What do citizens want government to do and how will it be funded?
Republican Illinois State Senate candidate Randy Frese of Paloma said the state's pension problems are a sign of broken government, which he said was caused by a lack of leadership.
Frese said the pension reform program in Rhode Island could serve as a template for Illinois. He said Rhode Island raised the retirement age, froze the cost of living adjustment (COLA), and implemented a 401K style plan. Frese said the state did so long before it got into a financial hole as deep as the one in Illinois.
No pension legislation moved through the Illinois General Assembly during Friday's special legislative session.
Democrats pushed along a plan to cut pension benefits for state elected politicians and no one else, but opponents -- including Representative Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) -- called the proposal disingenuous.
"I am not going to vote for this. I think it's a farce," said Senger.
"I think we're basically coming out and saying we're doing something and we're absolutely not, and it's a real disservice for those who live in this state."