WCSJ Photo

(Photo Courtesy of Senator Rezin's Office)

During the recent veto session the Illinois legislature passed a bill consolidating downstate police and fire pensions.

As WSPY previously reported, the measure consolidates 650 suburban and downstate police and fire pension plans into two statewide funds with a goal of receiving better investment returns.

The votes, last month, were 42-12 in the Senate and 96-14 in the House. Previous attempts to consolidate the public safety pensions in past years had failed.

Republican State Senator Sue Rezin, whose district covers portions of the WSPY listening area, recently spoke about the passage of the bill during an interview.

Rezin feels the legislation puts responsibility on each entity.

Rezin explained why she voted in favor of the bill.

Others like Democratic Senator Linda Holmes of Aurora also supported the measure. Holmes said of the bill during session that the state was taking steps to get ahead of an issue before it became a crisis.

Opposition to the measure in the legislature argued that there were still concerns of taking away local decision making by consolidating the pensions under the language proposed. However, organizations like the Illinois Municipal League and Fraternal Order of Police issued statements of approval with the final bill.

Vote records show Republican Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove voted no. Democratic Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Plainfield did not cast a vote.

In the House, Republican Rep. Keith Wheeler of Oswego, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego, Republican Rep. David Welter of Morris, Republican Rep. Jeff Keicher of Sycamore, Democratic Rep. Barbara Hernandez of Aurora, Republican Rep. Mark Batinick of Plainfield and Republican Rep. Tom Demmer of Dixon all voted in favor.

Governor JB Pritzker said the consolidation of the two funds could result in greater returns of $820 million to $2.5 billion over the next five years alone and they could earn billions more, over the next 20 years.