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2012 News & Events Archive

A Time for Action: Reforming the Illinois State Universities Retirement System 12.17.2012
Click Here to read the proposed reforms including changes to SB1673
From the Institute of Government & Public Affairs - University of Illinois

Unions Propose Paying More to Fix Pension Crisis 12.5.2012
Click Here to read the article in SJ-R

Coalition Releases Studies on Pension Cuts,
Recommendations for a Way Forward; Calls for Summit
Click Here to read the article

Coalition Notes Problems with HB 6258,
but Stands Ready to Work Toward Solution
Click Here to read the article

SB1673 - the Illinois Public University Presidents and Chancellors Letter of Response 12.5.2012
Click Here to read the letter

HB6258 - New Pension Reform Bill 12.5.2012
Click Here for audio from Press Conference
Click Here for Bill Status of HB6258
Click Here for PDF version of HB6258

Details Emerge on New State Pension Proposal 12.5.2012
Click Here to read the SJ-R article

Frustrated Legislators Prepare New Pension Plan 12.5.2012
Click Here to read the WUIS article

Illinois Rank-and-File Lawmakers Float Pension Reform Plan 12.5.2012
Click Here to read the Chicago Tribune article

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) has Released a Special Pension Briefing 11.27.2012
Click Here to read the briefing

WTTW's "Chicago Tonight": Illinois Senate President with Veto Session Preview 11.27.2012
Click Here to watch the video

Lame-duck Legislation May Not Fly 11.26.2012
Click Here to read the article in the Chicago Tribune.

New Pension Proposal Surfaces 11.26.2012
Click Here to read the article on Illinois Home Page.net.

HMO Dispute All Wrapped Up 11.20.2012
Click Here to read the article in the News-Gazette

State Awards New Health Insurance Contracts 11.20.2012
Click Here to read the article in the State Jounral Register

Chicago Tribune Describes Quinn's Pension Marketing Push as "Juvenile" 11.20.2012
Click Here to read the article.

Governor Pat Quinn Unveils New Website to Win Public Support for Pension Reform. 11.19.2012
Click Here to view the website.

Senate President John Cullerton responds to The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago's announcement that the Pension System is "Unfixable". 11.16.2012
Click Here to read Senate President John Cullerton's statement.

Chief Legal Counsel & Parliamentarian of the Senate, Eric M. Madiar, responds to Mr. Tyrone C. Fahner, President of The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Click Here to read Eric M. Madiar's letter of response.

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago tells its members that the Pension System is 'Unfixable'. 11.15.2012
Click Here to read the article in the State Journal Register.

llinois Proposed Amendment to the Constitution Fails! 11.7.2012
Click Here to read the State Journal-Register article.

Radio Ad sponsored by the CA 49 Ballot Initiative 11.5.2012
Click Here to listen to the mp3 file.

John Kindt on Constitutional Amendment 11.5.2012
Click Here to read "Bambenek Suit Sparks Viral Opposition" in The News-Gazette.
Click Here to read "John Kindt on Bambenek v. Board of Elections" with a 3 minute audio on WILL am 580.
Click Here to read "Does Nov. 6 Constitutional Amendment Deceive Voters?" in The Courier-News.

Unintended Ballot Language Could Sink Proposed Amendment 11.5.2012
Click Here to read the article in the Illinois Issues Blog

Springfield Deceit Exposed 10.25.2012
by Bambenek v. Bd. of Elections
Click Here read John Kindt's commentary

Presentation on Proposed Constitutional Amendment at UIC 10.25.2012
Click Here to watch the video presentation

Senate Candidate John Bambenek Files Suit to Invalidate Constitutional Amendment Question on Ballot10.25.2012
Click Here to read the article on the Illinois Channel

Illinois Amendment Would Eliminate Constitutional Protections 10.25.2012
A little-publicized amendment to the Illinois Constitution on this November's ballot could have a big impact on the pensions and health care of state workers if Illinois voters approve it, a University of Illinois expert in legal policy says in an article in the News Bureau at the University of Illinois.
Click Here to read the article in the News Bureau

Constitutional Amendment Resources 10.9.2012
UIC's blog "Retirement Matters" is another resource for information on the Proposed Amendment to Add Section 5.1 to Article XIII of the Illinois Constitution(Constitutional Amendment 49).
Click Here to read the blog posts.

Ann Lousin on Politics Tonight Inveighing Against
the Public Pensions Amendment
Ann Lousin is a Professor of Law at the John Marshall Law School.
The link below will take you to the Politics Tonight website. Click on the video clip that is located second from left with Professor Lousin in the orange jacket.
Click Here to see the clip.

"Pensions Amendment Hides True Impact" 9.25.2012
John Kindt, professor of business administration, describes legislator's sneaky attempt to override constitutional safeguards with Amendment 49 on the upcoming November ballot in Illinois.
Click Here to read the Article in the Courier-News.

ALERT 9.19.2012
Proposed Amendment to Add Section 5.1 to Article XIII
of the Illinois Constitution (Constitutional Amendment 49)

The Constitutional Amendment will be identified on the November 6th Ballot as “Proposed Amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution”.

Yes    For the proposed addition of
------    Section 5.1 to Article XIII
NO       of the Illinois Constitution.

Click Here to read the Proposed Amendment To Add Section 5.1 To Article XIII of The Illinois Constitution (CA 49)
An explanation is included as well as arguments in favor and against the amendment.

Click Here to read Ann Lousin's perspective on CA 49.
Ann Lousin is a Professor of Law at the John Marshall Law School
Click Here to read Ann Lousin's article on CA 49 in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
Click Here to read SUAA's Letter to Members on CA 49.
Click Here to read Reasons to Defeat CA 49.

Registration for the 2012 SUAA Fall Meeting 9.11.2012
Click Here for More Information on the Meeting
Click Here to go to the Registration Home Page

Watch the UIC-UNITED retirement lecture with Ralph Martire, Eric Zorn, 'Kappy' Lang & John Tillman 9.7.2012
Click HERE to watch the video!

State Extends Temporary Health Carrier Contracts 9.6.2012
Click Here to Read the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) Announcement

Save the Date! 8.17.2012
WIU-SUAA 2012 Western Illinois Regional Fall Meeting
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
9:30am-3:00pm Pensions & Healthcare: Where Do We Go From Here?
Registration $28 - includes continental breakfast and lunch

SJR Quotes Linda Brookhart in Article 7.16.2012
"Despite Rumors, Price of State Retiree Insurance Still Not Settled"
Click to read the Article.

Legislative Bills SUAA is Following 7.11.2012
Click to read the Report.

Keynote speakers, Ralph Martire and Amanda Kass from the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability, address the SUAA Annual Meeting attendees on the pension crisis and the pension systems on June 19, 2012. 7.5.2012
Click on the links below to see the videos
Ralph Martire "Is Illinois' Fiscal Crisis Due to an Outdated Tax System?"
Amanda Kass "A Look at the Numbers Behind Illinois' Troubled Pensions"
An In-depth Panel Discussion on the 97th General Assembly Legislative Session moderated by Dick Lockhart.
Central Management Services Director Malcolm Weems and Senior Public Service Administrator Janice Bonneville discuss the current state of healthcare coverage for state workers and retirees.

Governor Pat Quinn Signs Senate Bill 1313 into Law 6.21.2012
SB 1313 is the State Health Insurance bill that will require State retirees and University retirees to pay part to all of their health insurance.SB 1313  does not affect the Teachers Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) or the College Insurance Program (CIP). Those who signed the Irrevocable Election of July 7, 1997 will not be affected by this change.
Click Here for the Chicago Tribune article
Click Here for the Illinois Statehouse News article
Click Here for the State Journal Register article

New Board Members Elected at SUAA Annual Meeting 6/20/2012
Four new At Large Board Members and Treasurer were elected at the Annual Meeting.
Patricia Bauhs - Moraine Valley Community College Chapter
Jane Lehmann - Elgin Community College Chapter
Marsha Borders - University of Illinois Chicago Chapter
Patricia Jones - Western Illinois University Chapter
Treasurer - Steve Mansfield - College of DuPage

Proposed Amendment to Add section 5.1 to Article XIII of the Illinois Constitution
(Constitutional Amendment 49)
Click to read The Impairment Provision is Impaired by HCA #49
Click to read Issue Brief - HJRCA 49: A Constitutional Amendment Regarding the Rules Governing Pension Benefit Increases

Legislative Bills SUAA is Following 6.6.2012
Click to read the entire Report.

Last Session Day Pension Bills Update 5.31.2012
As most of you are aware today is the last day of session. It could go until midnight but then again who actually knows. While most of us left the House last night to attend the Senate Executive hearing which were to include the comprehensive pension reform bills (HB 1447, HB 3865, and HB 3076) and HB 1447 which only contained reforms for GARS and SERS. None of these were heard however.

What took place was in on the House Floor when Speaker Madigan announced at the end of the House session that he was transferring the sponsorship of SB1673 to House Republican Leader Tom Cross. Amendments 4 and 6 which takes away the funding shifts to the school districts, universities and community colleges. Interestingly this came about after the Speaker had had a conversation with the Governor. The Governor told Madigan that he supports Cross. More will come as there is a hearing at 9:00 am in the House Personnel and Pensions Committee.
Click to see the SURS Legislative Update.

Senate Amendment 002 to HB3076 filed 5.29.2012
Senate President John Cullerton has filed Senate Amendment 002 to HB3076. It too is a pensions reform amendment that is somewhat different from SB1673. More about this amendment tomorrow. It is 224 pages. Included is actions to enforce payments by employers.
Click here to read Senate Amendment 002.

SB1673 Now HAM 5 5.29.2012
It wasn't enough that the Pension Reform Amendment was 294 pages there is now a new amendment (5) which adds the duties of CMS and the employers – same number of pages.

This amendment will most likely be introduced as a Floor Amendment tomorrow morning. House reconvenes at 10:00 a.m.

Rep. Bost gave quite a performance this afternoon in the House. It was Rep. Bill Black in 3D for those of you who know how Rep. Bill Black made his "point".

Everyone should be calling both their representatives and their senators! We ask that you be polite. Ask each one to vote NO on SB 1673 HAM 5.

  1. The judges were not included in this amendment. According to Speaker Madigan the judges were left out "to avoid putting judges in a conflict of interest because eventually this is going to be up before the Illinois Supreme Court."
  2. Does not state how the cost of the health insurance will be determined before making a choice; will it remain affordable after the election of Option I is made. The choice looks to be irrevocable. What benefits will be offered in the health insurance? What health providers will be available? All determined by CMS.
  3. The 10,000+ Irrevocable Elections were not carved out of this amendment as they were in SB1313.
  4. There is no guaranteed funding for the pension systems from the State.
  5. No protection against rising property taxes in most areas.
  6. The cost shift to the universities, community colleges and school districts are open ended.
  7. What is the actual definition of "Fair" and "Normal" costs? Who determines?
  8. Lack of understanding of the proposed New Cash Balance Program for those who will be affected. Contributions not guaranteed by the State or the entity (university, community college, school).
  9. This will Amendment will not pass the constitutional protection. It is not a free and fair choice.
  10. Shifting costs will most likely further erode education.
  11. Remember the General Assembly is trying to reduce your COLA and impose an unknown health insurance cost to you.
Also, Rep. Karen May introduced HB6177. It spells out the costs for the State Health Insurance, Community College Insurance Program, and the Teachers Retirement Insurance Program. Rep. Karen May had wanted to work with CMS, SUAA and the two SERS groups on SB1313. Looks as if she has struck out on her own. SUAA would also oppose this bill. It was also filed after the due date, but now it becomes part of the discussion.
Click here to find your legislator

SB1673 Amendment HAM 3 & 4 5.29.2012
Click here to read the analysis
SUAA is at this time providing to both the House and the Senate Members. You can use this information to contact your legislators.

Interesting testimony this morning in the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. However the most interesting was from University of Illinois President Robert Easter. The University supports the "cash balance" program provided by Rep. Biss. The question would be what happened to the IGPA Study and the legislation that was being written to support a change for Tier II employees. The "cash balance" idea is unchartered waters. It has been tried in conjunction with Social Security but not with pension programs such as any of the State pensions systems - defined benefits.

More to come on the testimony; passed committee 6 - 3. Rep. Morrison received cheers and applause for his No vote. He provided his reasoning which was quite good. Rep. Senger who has been working on the Pension Reform Committee also voted No and received applause. She provided her concerns before her vote.

At the same time as House Personnel and Pensions, the Senate Executive Committee was meeting to provide as Subject Matter only SB1673. However, the Republicans raised such a ruckus that the bill wasn't presented.

Minority Leader Representative Tom Cross has added HAM 4 to SB1673 (It is only 19 pages); has to do with contributions by the State to the pensions. More will come as soon as we have time to digest more of this amendment and the 287 pages of HAM 3.

And yes there is a typo on Choice 2 in the earlier information sent out. It should read "2" instead of "1".
Click here to find your legislator

Alert! 5.29.2012
Pension Reform Bill SB1673 House Amendment #3 will be heard in House Personnel and Pension at 9:00 a.m. We will keep you updated.
Click here to read the analysis.

Memorandum from the Director of CMS, Malcom Weems, to House Minority Leader Tom Cross. 5.22.2012
Matter of Public Record
SB1313 - Retiree Healthcare Proposal
Senate Bill 1313 allows the Director of CMS to set the premiums that are paid by retirees in the Group Health Insurance Program every year in order to ensure we will be able to continue providing quality health care for our retired employees.

Currently, retiree healthcare costs the state $800 million to provide. However, retirees themselves pay only 3% of costs in premiums towards that healthcare. Most retirees – 90% - pay nothing towards this cost, and this includes many retirees under the age of 65, who may still be working in other jobs. This is an unsustainable level of subsidy by the state, and retirees need to begin sharing substantially in the cost of their care.

The proposed retiree contributions will pay a percentage of their healthcare costs on a sliding scale. The scale is based on (1) length of service, and (2) ability to pay.

The percent of cost the retiree will pay will also be based on his or her pension level. Pension amounts will be broken up into seven tiers; the higher the tier, the more the retiree will pay.

Retirees who are eligible for Medicare (generally 65 years old and above) cost the state substantially less than those who are not on Medicare. Since the contributions will be based on a paying a percent of the cost of care for the state, those retirees on Medicare will pay significantly less than those (generally younger and still working) who are not.

Those who have already retired when this plan goes into effect will pay based on their ability to pay, but will be given service credit at the highest level. However, regardless of the contribution amount determined under those rules, the new plan contribution will not be less for any retiree than the amount they contribute under the current policy.

FY2013 Benefit Choice Period Update 5.21.2012
The Benefit Choice Period will be May 1 through June 15, 2012, for all members. In an effort to ensure that health carriers are in place for the start of the next fiscal year (July 1, 2012), a decision has been made to enter into emergency contracts with Health Alliance HMO, Health Alliance Illinois and Coventry Health Care HMO. These contracts will be for 90 days with an option to extend for an additional period as needed.

Senate Passes SB1313 - Now Heads to Governor Pat Quinn 5.10.2012
SB1313 passed the full Senate this afternoon by a vote of 31 "Yeas" to 20 "Nays" to 1 "Present". 7 members did not vote. This was a very close margin. Grassroots efforts were heard by the entire Senate. We will have a more detailed email out tomorrow on our legislative efforts regarding this issue, and we'd like to thank Senator Mike Frerichs and all the members of the Illinois Senate who voted no on this issue.
Click to see the Senate roll call..

Call for Executive Committee Nominations for June 2012 5.8.2012
Hi Colleagues, I have been appointed to chair a nominating committee to recommend at the June 19 & 20 SUAA annual meeting three at-large members for the SUAA executive committee. If you would like our committee to consider a possible SUAA member for the executive committee, please email me at runbike63@yahoo.com by May 28 with your recommendation(s) for possible future executive committee members. At-large members serve a two-year term. You need to contact the person whom you are nominating, and the person must agree with your nomination.
Click to read the entire Call for Executive Committee Nominations Letter from John Peterson, JJCAA.

SUAA Annual Meeting 5.8.2012
Mark your calendars for June 19 and 20 to attend the SUAA Annual Meeting in Springfield.
Hotel reservations need to be made no later than May 29th! Rate is $95.99 for a single or double.
President Abraham Lincoln Hotel & Conference Center
701 East Adams Springfield, Illinois 62701

Legislative Bills SUAA is Following 5.3.2012
Click to read the entire Report.

HJRCA49 Passes Senate Executive Committee 4.26.2012
It wasn't going to rear its head this session or so it was said, but here it is:
SB 1313 ham 006 was filed this morning with the Clerk of the House by Rep. Frank Mautino. It is now assigned to the House Executive Committee. The time of the hearing has not been set as yet. The amendment reforms State retiree health insurance. (Note: CIP nor TRIP is included - most likely will be in another reform.)
    Provides that CMS (Central Management Services) shall determine the State's contribution to the program.

    Deletes the formula that determines annuitant premiums.

    CMS determination will influence the cost of the premiums; unclear how premiums will be determined.

    Deleting formula (5% premium reimbursement per year of service up to a maximum of 100%) provides no clear understanding of how the premium reimbursement will be determined.

At this time there is no other information available. However, if you would like to read the amendment please follow this link: AMENDMENT TO SENATE BILL 1313 The amendment is 38 pages long. Do not call SURS. They are not responsible; SURS only administers the premium. They do not legislate. SUAA will be working on this immediately!

HJRCA49 Passes Senate Executive Committee 4.25.2012
Once again a big thank you to those of you who contacted the Senate Executive Committee; and those of you who contacted your senators. The Amendment passed out of the Senate Executive Committee with a vote of 14-00-00. Senator Minority Spokesperson Dale Righter was absent. It will reach the Senate floor for the 2nd reading on Thursday; however, it cannot be passed until Tuesday, May 2nd. This Amendment is designed to move. We believe there will be questions asked on the floor of the Senate but those questions will likely not have any effect on the outcome. Testimony was provided by AFSCME and the Fraternal Order of Police. No testimony was taken from IEA or SUAA which was unfortunate because the content was different. It seems that moving quickly through the hearing was of most importance possibly due to the number of people in the room. (Most people were not in attendance because of the Amendment.) The language in the Amendment is ambiguous. Therefore it remains to be seen what the outcome will mean and how it will affect future decisions in our governmental institutions and other local units of government.
The testimony, which was filed, can be found at the following .pdf links:
Actual Recorded Testimony for HJRCA49 - House
Testimony for HJRCA49 - Senate

Governor Quinn Proposes Bold Plan to Stabilize the Public Pension System 4.20.2012 CHICAGO-April 20, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a bold plan that secures public workers' retirement while fixing the state's pension problem that has been created over decades of fiscal mismanagement. The proposal is expected to save taxpayers $65 to $85 billion based on current actuarial assumptions. The changes will lead to greater certainty in Illinois' business climate, respond to concerns from ratings' agencies regarding the state's unfunded pension liability and support the continuation of the state's capital plan that is putting hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents back to work. The Governor's proposal follows weeks of discussion by the Governor's pension working group.
Click to read the entire Press Release on the WUIS news blog. You can also listen to an audio version of Governor Quinn's speech, access a Pensions Fact Sheet and the Public Pension Stabilization Plan if you scroll to the bottom of the page.
Hear Governor Quinn's entire news conference on his pension plan... Audio Link

Legislative Bills SUAA is Following 4.5.2012
Please click on the links below to read the reports.
General Interest Legislation
Appropriations Bills
Pension Reform Bills
University Specific Legislation
Community College Bills

Legislative Bills SUAA is Following 3.22.2012
Please click on the links below to read the reports.
General Interest Legislation

Appropriations Bills

Pension Reform Bills

2012 Northern Illinois Regional Meetings "Mobilizing for 2012 and Beyond" 3.19.2012
The 2012 Northern Illinois Regional Meetings will be held on April 10th at Elgin Community College and April 13th at Moraine Valley Community College.
You will find the registration forms and more information about the meetings by clicking the link below. Please register by April 4th, 2012.
2012 Northern Illinois Regional Meetings PDF

Fixing the Future: Pensions 3.14.2012
During Wednesday's 90-minute meeting on pension reform, NIU President John Peters and Steve Cunningham, vice president of Human Resources and Compliance, sought to explain how Illinois' government racked up $85 billion in unfunded liability and why NIU will see an estimated 200 to 400 faculty retirements this year.
Click to read the entire article
"Fixing the future: Pensions".

Executive Director Linda Brookhart Celebrates 5 Years at SUAA! 3.14.2012

Judge Rules in Favor of Public Workers in Florida Education Group's Lawsuit Over Mandatory Pension 'Contribution' 3.8.2012
TALLAHASSEE - In a stinging rebuke to Gov. Rick Scott and legislative Republicans, a state judge struck down a key portion of last year's pension overhaul, a decision that could eventually force the state to return hundreds of millions of dollars to its employees.
Click to read the entire article Judge Rules in Favor of Public Workers.

Governor Quinn will Present Budget Address on Wednesday, February 22nd 2.17.2012
At Noon on Wednesday, February 22nd all eyes will be focused on the Governor as he presents his Budget Address from the House of Representatives . You will be able to access it live through the General Assembly's website. There will also be numerous radio and TV stations broadcasting live. Please try to make time to hear this speech. The Governor should provide many clues as to what is coming that will affect all of us.

To ready for this you might want to take a look at the 2012 Three Year Budget Projection presented by the Governor's Office of Budget and Management. In addition, the Civic Federation has a 57 page report which looks at the State's fiscal picture five years out.
You can find this report here.

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment #5
If HJCA#5 becomes a part of the State Constitution, how will public education in Illinois be affected?
Click to read the entire FACT SHEET.

Miller: Quinn Looks to Pension Reform for Savings 2.12.2012
Read Rich Miller's Capitol Fax Blog posted February 12, 2012 in the Southtown Star titled "Quinn Looks to Pension Reform for Savings".

State of the State Address 2.1.2012
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn delivered his State of the State address at the Illinois Capitol on Wednesday, February 1, 2012.
Here is a link to the full text. State of the State Address - Text Version
Here is a link to an MP3 download that includes the analysis. State of the State Address and Analysis - Audio Version

SUAA Supports Legistration That Would Guarantee States' Share of Pensions Costs 1.23.2012

The State Universities Annuitants Association will be supporting legislation to change the Illinois Pension Code that would guarantee the States' share of the pension costs for current and future State-funded Universities and Community Colleges' employees.

SUAA has drafted proposed legislation based on similar assurance language in 40 ILCS 5/7-172.1 that allows the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) to enforce payments by municipalities for pension fund contributions.  In exchange for this amendment, SUAA would endorse a modest increase in the pension contribution rate for all State funded Universities and Community Colleges' employees.

A June 2011 report from the National Institute for Retirement Security identified six retirement systems in the US that have weathered the current recession better than other public pension systems.  One of those in that report was the IMRF.[1] 

SUAA believes laws that enforced payments to IMRF is the primary reason it has a funding ratio far above other retirement systems and SUAA is working to pass similar enforcement mechanisms for our members.

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