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Bivins given new Senate tasks

Lawmaker says he’ll get ‘stronger voice’

SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, is taking on new roles in the Senate.

He has been asked to serve as Republican spokesman for the Financial Institutions Committee, which deals with issues related to savings and loans, banks, credit unions and consumer credit.

He also will serve as the GOP’s spokesman for the Executive Appointments Committee, which reviews all gubernatorial appointments to state boards and commissions.

Bivins, a former Lee County sheriff, also will belong to the Criminal Law, Insurance, and Licensed Activities and Pensions committees. The Licensed Activities and Pensions committees will review legislation addressing Illinois’ public pension crisis, which most lawmakers consider the state’s most pressing issue.

Earlier this month, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, appointed Bivins as Senate Republican whip, whose role is to ensure discipline, order and attendance at caucus meetings.

“A leadership position will allow me an even stronger voice in strategy and policy decisions,” Bivins said in a statement. “I appreciate Leader Radogno’s confidence and look forward to helping guide legislation that reflects the interests of the hard-working citizens of Illinois.”

Dixon senator pushes bill

SPRINGFIELD – More Illinois lawmakers will get the chance to opt out of the General Assembly's pension system under legislation sponsored by state Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon.

Currently, legislators can opt out of the system only within the first 2 years of their service. Bivins' Senate Bill 40 will create an additional window of 18 months, no matter how many years they have served, to opt out.

"We have heard a lot of rhetoric from both the public and private sectors, from both lawmakers and taxpayers, about the need for public pension reform," Bivins said in a statement. "There have been a number of calls to action from state and legislative leaders, but we have not seen much actual progress."

He said his bill would give reform-minded lawmakers the chance to take a first step.

He sponsored similar legislation in 2012, but it didn't advance through a Senate committee.

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