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Lawmaker: Pension Reform Talks 'Very Delicate,' But Making Progress

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (CBS) -- A leading state lawmaker said a bipartisan pension reform committee has been making progress toward a deal, though not as quickly as they'd like.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports state Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) -- House Speaker Michael Madigan's point person on pension reform -- told an Arlington Heights audience things have been moving, but not at high velocity.

Pension Reform Talks Making Progress

"What I think you're seeing is some frustration that the conference committee – the bipartisan bicameral conference committee – is not making as rapid process as I think that many would like, and I would agree with that," Nekritz said. "But the fact is we are making progress, and everybody at that table – and by everybody, I mean all four caucuses – remain very committed to getting something significant done."

The 10-member committee includes five members of the House, and five members of the Senate – six Democrats and four Republicans – and has been working since mid-June to hammer out a compromise on pension reform.

For the first time, all four caucuses are agreeing on some pension reform measures.

"We are all coming together in good faith, and negotiating, and these negotiations are very delicate," she said. "But this is the first time that all four caucuses have been at the table, agreeing on anything with regard to the pension situation."

Lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on pension reform during their regular spring session this year. A plan backed by Madigan was soundly defeated in the Illinois Senate, while a plan backed by Senate President John Cullerton never got a vote in the Illinois House.

Nekritz said she's confident the conference committee will get the job done. Gov. Pat Quinn has withheld all lawmakers' paychecks – and his own – until they do.

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