Legislation for Police & Firefighters
As you may recall, last May the General Assembly passed, and Governor Quinn signed, an overhaul of the pension system for state employees and teachers hired after January 1, 2011. Those reforms are estimated to save the State approximately $100 billion over the next 35 years.
Police and firefighters were exempted from that round of legislation, so over the summer I worked with Representative Kevin McCarthy on legislation that would provide similar modifications to the pensions of police and firefighters.
Senate Bill 3538 proposed many changes for public safety employees including:
Increasing the retirement age for police and firefighters from 50 to 55;
Police and firefighters can retire earlier than 55 but must have reached the age of 50 and will see their benefits reduced by 6% for every year below 55;
Dramatically reducing the cost of living adjustments received after retirement;
Capping the amount of salary on which the pension is based; and
Beginning in 2015, if a municipality fails to make full payments to the pension system, the State Comptroller can deduct funds owed by the State to that municipality and those funds would be directed to the pension fund.
The legislation passed both chambers and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.
Worker’s Compensation Reform Committee
I was recently appointed to the Illinois House Workers’ Compensation Reform Committee. The committee is made up of four Democrats and four Republicans. The first hearing was held in Chicago and the next two are in central and downstate Illinois this week. At the hearing, legislators are able to hear first-hand from the employers impacted by increasing workers compensation costs and employees who have been injured on the job. Both are being provided a unique opportunity in which to share their real-life experiences surrounding the Illinois workers compensation system.
I hope that we will be able to craft new reforms for workers compensation after the conclusion of these hearings and bring legislation and ideas to Springfield at the start of session on January 3rd 2011.
The House will reconvene in Springfield to finish the remainder of the 96th General Assembly on January 3rd. New and returning members will be sworn in on the 12th and the 97th General Assembly will begin its work on January 13th.
I am excited for the new session to begin and hope to continue working on the issues that are important to my district and constituents.