Editor's Note: The following press release was submitted by Illinois Senate Republican staff:
State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) has introduced legislation he says will increase transparency when amending the state pension code.
Senate Bill 3566 and Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 47 limit future amendments to the Illinois Pension Code to one pension fund or retirement system at a time. Dillard explained this would prevent circumstances where controversial pension amendments are quietly passed as part of more sweeping legislation that advances widely accepted or desired pension changes.
“We’ve seen numerous media reports highlighting egregious abuses of the state pension systems that flew under the radar because the contentious measure had been lumped into one massive pension bill,” Dillard said. “Sometimes these pension bills are hundreds of pages long and the controversial aspects get buried, in what’s referred to as ‘log rolling’ or a ‘Christmas tree’ bill. Limiting changes to the pension code by article will increase transparency and accountability by forcing lawmakers to be very clear about the intent and scope of the legislation.”
Recently, this issue drew public attention when media reports revealed two Illinois Federation of Teachers lobbyists planned to take advantage of a loophole in the state’s pension code that would have allowed them to collect Teachers’ Retirement System benefits after just one day’s work as participants in the Substitute for a Day program.
Dillard explained that each state retirement system is included in its own article of the pension code. If the legislation is approved by lawmakers and signed into law, future amendments to Illinois Pension Code could no longer simultaneously advance changes to multiple pension systems.