Legislature Adjourns: Senate Overwhelmingly Rejects SB 1 -- But SB 2404 Denied a Full House Vote

The Illinois legislature has adjourned for the spring. It is not yet known whether a special session will be called before lawmakers reconvene in October. Stay tuned for updates on actions you can take over the summer.

UPDATE, May 31, 10 p.m.: The Illinois Senate has adjourned, after passing SB 2404 and rejecting SB 1 on strong, bipartisan votes. The Illinois House did not get a chance to vote on SB 2404 because Speaker Madigan refused to call the bill -- which would have passed. Thank your state senators who voted no on SB 1, and tell your state representatives that you demand a vote on SB 2404!

UPDATE, May 30, 8:30 p.m.: SB 1 failed the Senate on a vote of 17-41 (McConnaughay switched to a "yes"). You can view the roll call by clicking here.

Please call and thank your state senators who voted NO on SB 1. The SB 1 vote can be reconsidered at any time, so please ask them to stand firm in their opposition to SB 1 or any pieces of the bill.

Read on for the full story.

--

House Speaker Michael Madigan put together his pension-slashing "mega-bill" -- Senate Bill 1 -- by combining three separate pension-cutting measures. Now, SB 1 or those three separate bills may be called for a vote in the Senate as soon as today.

If Senate Bill 1 or any of these three bills pass the Senate, they will go to Governor Pat Quinn for signature, and the Governor will almost certainly sign these pension cuts into law. SB 1 and these three bills have already passed the House, so the only thing between them and the Governor is a majority Senate vote.

These three unfair, unconstitutional bills are summarized below and would affect all active and retired public workers, except judges. Of these, SB 1 and HB 1165 are the most important bills to oppose:

  • HB 1165 (deep COLA cuts) is opposed by the coalition. It caps cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) at extremely low levels and delays all COLAs for five years or until age 67, whichever comes first. The caps alone have the effect of reducing the value of a pension by one-third to one-half after twenty years in retirement.
    • All the while, senior citizens – as major consumers of health care services – are one of the most at-risk demographic groups subject to inflationary pressures. The bill makes it near impossible to keep up with the rising cost-of-living.
  • HB 1166 (retirement age increases) is opposed by the coalition. It increases retirement ages anywhere from one to five years. Employees under age 35 would face a five-year increase, employees between age 35 and 40 would face a three-year increase, and employees between age 40 and 45 would face a one-year increase. 
    • It contains no consideration for employees with physically-demanding professions, such as police officers, fire fighters, corrections officers, and nurses.
    • An increase in retirement age effectively causes an individual’s accrued benefits to lose 6% in value for each year of increase. A younger worker – under the age of 35 in this instance – would lose 30% of his or her pension’s value if this amendment became law. Even slightly older workers – those between 35 and 40 – would face a loss in value of 18% upon retirement.
  • HB 1154 (pensionable salary caps) is opposed by the coalition. It puts a cap on the amount of salary that qualifies for a pension.
    • The bill fails to recognize the mandatory overtime worked by many public servants.
    • Caps on pensionable salary also create disincentives for hiring and recruiting for critical public professions, particularly ones that require advanced degrees, such as those in the medical or higher education fields. It can also hurt filling these types of civil service positions, which are often more cost effective than contracting out for expensive, specialized services.
  • SB 1 (Speaker's mega-bill) is opposed by the coalition. It essentially packages these three pension-cutting House bills together into a single, destructive piece of legislation.

Tell your state senator to oppose the Speaker's pension "mega-bill" -- Senate Bill 1 -- and the three bills that make it up -- HB 1165, HB 1166, and HB 1154! Tell your state senator not to support any bill opposed by the We Are One Illinois coalition of unions!

Click here to call, or dial 888-412-6570.

Click here to go to our sample e-mail, where you can personalize and send a message to your legislators.

Click here to tell five family members or friends to make the call.

For more frequent updates, please visit and "like" the coalition's Facebook page.

Thank you for your advocacy!