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Hang on; January’s coming

Lame-duck session may see legislative feathers fly

People who predicted a fairly sleepy veto session can brag about their foresight.

Things were so slow that the 6-day veto session lasted only 5 days for the Senate and 4 for the House.

Hot-button issues like gay marriage, medical marijuana, and gambling expansion didn’t get any public airing. A new pension reform proposal emerged, but that won’t be considered until early January, and there’s no guarantee it will have any legs then.

A bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license passed the Senate, but the House can’t take it up until January.

Gov. Pat Quinn crowed that lawmakers sustained his budget cuts to close prisons and other facilities. OK, but he wasn’t going to spend the money even if lawmakers had restored the cash.

So, as expected, early January will be the time to hold onto your seats. The Senate returns Jan. 2, the House a day later.

Lawmakers elected in November take their seats Jan. 9.

That’ll give the old bunch one more week to finish off what they couldn’t or wouldn’t do in the previous 12 months.

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Former Gov. Jim Edgar had some advice for the Chicago corporate titans who insist on steep cuts to public employee pension benefits.

Tone it down.

“I’ve told some of these CEOs in Chicago who are all for this, ‘Hey, I worked in state government. We never had profit sharing, we never had stock options, we never had bonuses,’” Edgar said. “All we really had was kind of our retirement. That was a pretty good thing.”

And since Edgar serves on some corporate boards, he’s also seen things from that perspective.

“I see what bonuses they get and what things state employees don’t have,” he said. “I think people in the private sector don’t understand there were some limitations in the public sector that they didn’t have. They ought to be a little more understanding and not maybe quite as harsh on some state workers as they’ve been.”

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“When they came to me and asked what to put in there, I said put in there he came and he left.”– Sen. Tom Johnson, R-Wheaton, on his tongue-in-cheek recommendation for what should be included in a retirement resolution in his honor.

“I wish I could vote on both sides of this bill.”– Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, on the bill allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, although lawmakers probably feel that way about a lot of things.

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