CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois House will convene for a special session next week on the state's roughly $100 billion pension crisis.
Both the House and Senate had tentatively set two days aside next week to meet. On Monday House Speaker Michael Madigan's chief of staff emailed representatives, telling them to expect a one-day session starting Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m.
Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman says senators still have the days on the books and there has been no change for now.
The four legislative leaders met last week on a plan that could save around $150 billion over the next three decades. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says the speaker continued discussions with leaders over the weekend and there was progress.
The leaders are expected to talk again this week.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan is telling Illinois lawmakers to be ready for a special session in Springfield in December.
Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes told Democrats in an email Wednesday that a "possible" session could begin Dec. 3. He told lawmakers to "keep other days that week available."
The email was sent around the time Madigan and other legislative leaders were meeting in Chicago to discuss a deal to solve the state's $100 billion pension crisis.
Dec. 3 is the day after the deadline for candidates to file paperwork in the 2014 campaign, including anyone challenging incumbents.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says progress is being made on pensions but any agreement is on hold until the cost savings of proposed solutions can be calculated.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has allocated $33 million to set up a program designed to regulate the carrying of concealed firearms.
Lawmakers voted 96-17 for the $50 million supplemental appropriation Tuesday. Rep. Luis Arroyo - a Chicago Democrat - says about $500,000 is new general-revenue spending.
The legislation gives the Illinois State Police authority to use money from $150 concealed-carry permit fees to pay for the additional staff and equipment necessary to set up the program.
Lawmakers approved concealed carry last summer after a federal appeals court said Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban was unconstitutional.
Several complained the measure does not include $112 million a court has ordered be paid to union workers who didn't get their full raise in 2011.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has approved legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state.
The vote 61-54 vote sends the measure back to the Senate for minor changes to a version it approved on Valentine's Day. Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll sign it.
Fourteen states plus Washington D.C., allow same-sex marriage. Most recently, New Jersey, Minnesota and Rhode Island have allowed it.
The historic vote in Illinois came after months of arduous lobbying by gay-rights advocates, but the bill was never called for a House vote earlier this year because the sponsor said there weren't enough votes. Proponents say momentum had been building, especially as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Opponents say marriage should remain between a man and woman.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have re-opened talks on a bill to expand gambling, but many of the concerns that doomed earlier proposals remain.
The House Executive Committee held a hearing Wednesday on a measure to add five casinos and allow slot machines at Chicago's major airports. The bill passed the Senate in the spring but didn't get a House vote.
Bill sponsor Rep. Robert Rita is a Blue Island Democrat. He says he'll work to address concerns. They include whether there's sufficient oversight of a Chicago casino and how new revenue would be shared.
Both the House and Senate have adjourned for the week. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield for the second week of the fall session in early November.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gay marriage supporters are launching a $2 million statewide campaign to approve same-sex marriage in Illinois.
Illinois Unites for Marriage is a coalition representing gay rights, civil rights and political groups.
In a statement Tuesday, the group says it will place 15 field organizers throughout the state to engage supporters. They plan to target legislators who oppose a measure to lift Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage.
The Illinois Senate passed the bill in February. It wasn't called for a vote in the House because the bill's sponsor said it didn't have the votes to pass.
Jim Bennett is chairman of the coalition. He says the next few months are critical because lawmakers could take up the bill in the fall.
Opponents say marriage should be between a man and woman.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn, a manufacturers' association and representatives from the oil and gas industry are praising a measure to regulate high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois.
The House overwhelmingly approved the plan Thursday.
The bill outlines rules that energy companies would have to follow during hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."
The executive vice president of the Illinois Oil and Gas Association says efforts on the compromise bill were "monumental. The head of the Illinois Manufacturing Association says it'll create jobs.
Ann Alexander is a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council who helped craft the regulations. She says it's good to see Illinois moving forward with public protections.
Opponents worry it would cause air and water pollution and deplete water resources.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House is expected to vote Friday on legislation allowing public possession of concealed guns. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. It was a compromise backed by Speaker Michael Madigan.
The measure was endorsed Thursday 13-3 and goes to the full House Friday. It comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons.
The legislation would require the Illinois State Police to issue concealed carry permits to qualified gun owners. It's patterned on a bill introduced by gun-rights advocate Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat.
But Madigan's version significantly adds places that would be off limits to guns. Those include mass transit - a must for violence-weary Chicago Democrats.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have overridden Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of legislation that addresses so-called Smart Grid technology.
The Illinois House voted Wednesday to again approve the legislation, a day after the Senate approved it for a second time. Quinn vetoed it May 6, saying the proposal weakened oversight and forced automatic rate hikes.
ComEd and Ameren pushed the bill to clarify legislation allowing the utilities to raise rates to fund the high-tech system. But the Illinois Commerce Commission and both utilities disagreed over implementation. ComEd filed an appeal over technical matters and faces a lawsuit over installation delays.
ComEd says with the new law the average residential customer will pay 40 cents more a month starting in 2014 and 80 cents more in 2017.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton says he will keep working to pass a pension reform bill he believes can survive a court challenge.
Rikeesha Phelon says Cullerton and fellow Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan have "the same goal but different approaches" to solving Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.
Madigan filed his pension plan on Tuesday. It caps the salary on which a pension can be based at $110,000 and limits annual cost-of-living increases.
Madigan's legislation also removes language from a plan backed by Cullerton that got Senate approval last month. Cullerton's plan offers affected state-government employees and teachers a choice of benefits instead of unilaterally cutting them.
Cullerton believes the state must give retirees a choice in benefits in order for the legislation to be considered constitutional.