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.
Gov. Pat Quinn's office said Monday that the state has agreed to settle the Securities and Exchange Commission case. Assistant budget director Abdon Pallasch (AB'-dun PAL-lish) says the state is promising better financial disclosures but admitted no wrongdoing.
The case revolved around more than $2 billion of municipal bonds sold from 2005 to early 2009 to pay state obligations to public-employee pension programs.
The SEC charged that the state did not adequately inform investors that a 50-year funding plan adopted in 1995 did not adequately cover pension liabilities.
The five pensions systems are now $97 billion in debt and a solution is lawmakers' top priority.
House Speaker Michael Madigan has scheduled a hearing for Thursday. Lawmakers are expected to vote on pension changes he is proposing.
A provision among the changes calls for penalizing retirement before age 67 with reduced benefits.
Another measure requires employees hired after January 2011 to pay an additional 5 percent toward their pensions on top of other contributions.
Riverside Democratic state Rep. Michael Zalewski says the expected votes are intended to gauge lawmakers' support for some potential reforms.
Zalewski says there's been enough talk about the changes and now is the time for legislators to actually show where they stand.