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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Illinois Senate leader still working on pension deal

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 02:16 Published in Local News

   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.

IL state workers contract: AFSCME to take new vote

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:48 Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The largest Illinois government employees' union will take a second ratification vote on its tentative three-year contract because of a continuing lawsuit over back wages.

   Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees OK'd the contract agreement with Gov. Pat Quinn's administration on March 20.

   But AFSCME announced Tuesday it would schedule a new vote because Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office hasn't dropped a lawsuit Quinn had pressed over raises due in 2011 and 2012.

   The first vote was based on the Quinn administration's promise to drop the lawsuit.

   Quinn agreed in the contract deal to pay the back wages. But he needs a $140 million appropriation from the Legislature to pay them.

   Madigan says she won't drop the lawsuit until the money is approved.

 

Steen's OT gives Blues 2-1 win over Kings

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:38 Published in Sports

   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Alex Steen stole the puck from goalie Jonathan Quick behind the net and scored a short-handed goal to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

   Steen scored unassisted on a backhander at 13:26 of overtime less than a minute after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was whistled for a double-minor high sticking when he cut Dustin Penner.

   Steen also scored on a power play in the first period for the Blues, who ended an eight-game losing streak against the team that swept them in the second round last spring.

   Quick, last year's Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP, made 35 saves in regulation, keeping the Kings in it for Justin Williams' tying goal with 31.6 seconds left.

 

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