(MCT) — Illinois House lawmakers were told Monday to return Dec. 3 to Springfield, where they would be in position if legislative leaders reach a compromise on overhauling the state's public employee pension system.
There have been reports of progress but no deal in the ongoing pension talks, and Senate leaders have tentatively scheduled a return Dec. 3-4 should a pension compromise be reached.
There was no mention of what House lawmakers would do in the letter sent by Speaker Michael Madigan's chief of staff, who told members to prepare for a one-day session next Tuesday.
The Dec. 3 date is politically significant because it is the day after the filing deadline for the March 2014 primary election, and lawmakers will know what competition they have.
If a pension agreement is not on the table, House members still could have some work to do, such as acting on a deal to prevent the number of racing dates at Illinois horse tracks from being sharply curtailed.
The state's employee pension system is an estimated $100 billion in debt and has been the target of a massive overhaul for years. But there's been little agreement on how to proceed as legislators weigh how to reduce costs against legal protections to retiree benefits laid out in the state constitution.
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