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R&K Pension News: Illinois Constitutional Amendment 49

October 1st, 2012

For those of you that are following the cry for pension reform, pay careful attention to House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 49 (“HJRCA 49”). On the November 6, 2012 ballot, Illinois voters will be asked to pass HJRCA 49, which will further limit the ability of the Illinois legislature to increase public employees pension benefits. HJRCA 49 seeks to add a new section to the general provisions of the Illinois Constitution that will require a 3/5 majority vote of each Chamber of the General Assembly in order to increase any benefits to a public employee pension or retirement system.

At the November 6, 2012 election, voters will be asked to vote “YES or NO” to the follow ballot question: “For the proposed addition of § 5.1 to Article XIII of the Illinois Constitution. Three fifths of those voting on the question or a majority voting in the election must vote “YES” in order for the amendment to become effective on January 9, 2013.

Opponents of HJRCA 49 argue that the question is ambiguous and confusing, and that it is yet the latest in the series of attacks on public employee retirement systems. It will do nothing to address the State’s financial crisis and it will impair the ability of public employees to make any further beneficial changes to their pension or retirement systems.

While passage of HJRCA 49 will not repeal Article XIII, §5 of the Illinois Constitution, it will no doubt seriously curtail public employees ability to pass legislation seeking to increase or enhance provisions of their respective retirement or pension systems.