SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - State senators are expected to consider two possible paths toward addressing the nation's worst pension crisis.
One option is legislation approved in the Illinois House last week. That bill is sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan. It would require public employees to pay 2 percent more toward their retirement benefits. It would also reduce annual cost-of-living increases for retirees and raise the retirement age for workers under 45.
Labor unions also are expected to pitch a plan. The details of that proposal have not been disclosed. But a spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton says it would offer employees a choice between health insurance or cost-of-living increases.
Lawmakers are expected to discuss the two options in a closed-door meeting on Monday before convening on the Senate floor.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has approved a comprehensive pension-reform plan for the first time after years of talks.
The House voted 62-51 Thursday to advance the measure sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan.
The Chicago Democrat's proposal is designed to close a $97 billion deficit that dogs the state's pension plans. Underfunding for decades has left the accounts short of what they need.
The legislation requires employees to contribute 2 percent more of their earnings to their pensions. They would also have to delay retirement and accept less-generous annual cost-of-living increases.
The state would guarantee it would make its required contribution every year.
The measure now goes to the Senate where President John Cullerton has his own ideas about reform.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that would allow designated school personnel to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.
The Senate voted 26-6 Thursday to pass the measure. It now heads back to the House for further consideration.
The bill would allow school employees to voluntary become "protection officers" if they have a valid concealed weapons permit and undergo training for the position.
The legislation would also lower the minimum age required to obtain a concealed weapons permit from 21 to 19. It would also allow firearms of less than 16 inches to be openly carried even in municipalities that have ordinances against it.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators are considering a measure to impose tough attendance requirements for students receiving state-sponsored scholarships.
Sponsoring Republican Sen. David Pearce, of Warrensburg, says the bill is designed to help students finish their degrees on time. It would require them to take a defined number of credit hours per semester to remain eligible for aid.
The Bright Flight, Access Missouri and the A+ Schools Program would be affected.
The measure has already won first-round approval and is expected to be sent to the House this week.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers could seek to include money for state Capitol repairs in a proposed $1.2 billion state bonding proposal.
A measure endorsed this week by the House Budget Committee would include $100 million for work on the roughly century-old Capitol. The full House could consider the bonding package as early as next week. Voter approval ultimately would be required before bonds are issued.
State officials say years of water infiltration have taken a toll on the Capitol. In part of the basement, stalactites hang from the ceiling and the concrete is damaged. It's estimated to cost $40 million to $45 million to address infrastructure needs such as waterproofing, substructure repairs and fixing exterior stone.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Todd Akin isn't ruling out a political comeback, nearly six months after losing Missouri's U.S. Senate race amid widespread criticism of his comments about "legitimate rape."
Akin recently spoke to KSDK-TV in his first interview since losing the November election to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. He said he's ready for a comeback, but hasn't decided if that will be in academia, public speaking, or even politics.
The 65-year-old Republican was a 12-year congressman from suburban St. Louis who won a tough Senate primary in August. His campaign took a hit after he remarked in a TV interview that women's bodies have ways of avoiding pregnancy from what he called "legitimate rape."
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Several hundred gun-rights advocates rallied at the state Capitol as the Missouri House voted to allow certain school personnel to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.
The House voted 115-41 to send the measure to the Senate Thursday.
The Missouri Sports Shooter Association held a previously scheduled rally in the Capitol rotunda while the House was debating the bill. Many lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, spoke at the event and promised to continue to push for more gun rights.
The House bill would also lower the minimum age required to carry concealed weapons and allow firearms less than 16 inches to be openly carried by people with valid permits.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Parents could give up newborn babies without legal consequences 45 days after birth under a bill given first-round approval by the Missouri Senate.
The measure endorsed Tuesday increases parents' "safe harbor" period from the current five-day window.
Parents of newborns can currently hand over a baby to medical professionals, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or law enforcement. The legislation would add pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes to that list.
Sponsoring Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Kansas City, says his measure would help protect children from being abused or neglected by parents unfit to care for their child.
His bill also includes a provision requiring students attending a public university to be vaccinated for meningitis if they live in on-campus housing and do not have religious objections.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House members have passed legislation that would require mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect to report suspicions directly to the state's Children's Division.
Currently, mandated reporters such as doctors, social workers and teachers must either report or "cause a report to be made" to the Children's Division when they suspect child abuse or neglect.
Supporters of the House legislation say that allows a mandated reporter to submit information to another person in his or her organization, who then decides whether to notify authorities.
The House legislation passed 150-0 and now will be considered by the Senate.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan raised more than $800,000 in political funds compared to $565,000 for Gov. Pat Quinn in the first three months of the year.
Madigan is a potential Democratic primary challenger to Quinn. Madigan says she has not yet decided whether to take on the governor next spring.
Campaign finance reports filed with the state Elections Board show Madigan spent $77,000 during the first quarter and had $4.4 million in the bank on April 1. Quinn spent $119,000 and had $1.5 million on hand.
Among possible Republican candidates, businessman Bruce Rauner's (ROW'-nerz) exploratory committee raised more than $1 million and already has taken in $91,000 in large donations since April 1.
GOP Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROO'-ther-ferd) raised $300,000 and had $740,000 in the bank.