After a delayed start due to the early February blizzard, the 97th General Assembly finally began its work last week. Barring any additional cancellations, the House is scheduled to meet a total of 60 days before scheduled adjournment in May.
Like last year, this session will bring a host of contentious issues to the forefront. In an address to members of the House last week, Speaker Madigan signaled that changes will be coming to current state employee pensions, current employee and retiree healthcare benefits, and workman’s compensation regulations.
Such changes will be resisted but are critical to preserving sustainable employee and retiree benefits, and restoring a business climate conducive to creating jobs. I will be insisting that all parties participate in these discussions and, where benefit reforms occur, employees and retirees be given a choice of options. The current systems are broke and reforms are critical to getting the state back on its fiscal track.
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