ABC7 Exclusive: 'Legislature has to do its job,' Quinn says

June 6, 2013 7:57:21 PM PDT
In an exclusive interview, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said he realized a special session would be necessary to address the $100 billion pension debt crisis last week.

Gov. Quinn called the special session on Thursday after Moody's downgraded Illinois bonds. Lawmakers should report to work on June 19.

"There's only one way to comprehensive public pension reform and that's for the General Assembly to convene in Springfield, our state capitol, they're going to be there on the 19th of this month and we've got to get this job done. The legislature has to do its job which is to put the bill on my desk so I can sign it into law," Gov. Quinn said.

The governor wants the legislative leaders from both parties to work with him until the 19th to build consensus on pension reform. He says he talked to Republican leaders and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, but has yet to speak with House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has not returned the governor's phone calls.

"I left a message with his staff, top assistant. I left a message on his wife's cellphone. I'm hoping to be talking very soon to Mike Madigan," Gov. Quinn said.

Earlier this week, Madigan was reportedly on vacation in Wisconsin. But he was spotted Thursday on Chicago's Southwest Side.

"I think that you should always respect people who have been elected to office. I respect every single legislator whether I disagree," Gov. Quinn said. "I respect the fact that they were elected."

When the special session begins June 19, the house and senate will need super majorities to pass pension reform bills. The Democrats hold such majorities in both chambers-- but internal differences among Democrats mean whatever might pass would require at least some Republican support.

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