Politics

Ill. issues unresolved during day 1 of veto session

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Illinois lawmakers face a long list of issues as they return to Springfield for a three-day veto session. How many, if any, can they actually resolve?

The biggest issue- pension.

"This is not a new issue. It's not a new problem. We've lived with this problem since Jim Thompson was governor going back to 1978. So it's not new," State Rep. Barbara Flynn Curie, (D) house majority leader, said.

"As we go through another budget cycle and looking at another billion dollar increase in the pensions, that will force us to look at this and say, 'This is unsustainable. It is putting pressure on programs that I support.' And I'm hopeful that will wake people up," Sate Rep. Elaine Nekritz, (D) Northbrook, said.

In the Senate, lawmakers are trying to string together enough votes to override the governor's veto of a gaming bill that would bring new casinos to Chicago, a north and south suburb and slots Arlington Park Racecourse.

"If we get to January 9 and a new General Assembly is sworn in, we start all over on every bill on the calendar, not just gaming," State Rep. Lou Lang, (D) Skokie, said.

Immigrant groups descended on the Capitol pushing for a law to permit illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses.

"People are driving now. They are in this country now. They've been working, paying taxes. My thing is, give them an opportunity to be legal," State Senator Antonio Munoz, (D) Chicago's Southwest Side, said.

Also on Tuesday, the Chicago Public School's new CEO asked lawmakers for more time before she has to detail which schools the district plans on closing. One more round of closings, she says, and then she promises a 5 year moratorium.

"We need to acknowledge that the community simply does not trust what we say or what we do," Barbara Byrd-Bennett, CEO CPS, said.

"We've had how many people in charge of schools in 5 years. Will she be here in 5 years? I don't know how she can promise anything to me," Susan Fleming, retired teacher, said.

CPS is expected to get the extension, and Byrd-Bennett promised none of the schools slated to close will become charter schools.

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