The Illinois Legislature's watershed vote to approve a $160 billion pension reform plan offered some surprises this week.
Far fewer GOP lawmakers than expected supported the plan despite pension reform being a party priority for years. Only 15 of 47 House Republicans voted for the plan, as did 10 of 19 Senate GOP members. Republican State Sen. David Luechtefeld voted against the bill, as did Republican State Rep. Mike Bost.
Many said the plan didn't cut enough costs for the state. They also faced pressure from campaign donors, and concerns about giving Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn a re-election boost.
Democratic lawmakers stepped forward with more yes votes to compensate, even though the plan was bitter medicine for their party's traditional union allies. Democratic State Sen. Gary Forby voted against the bill along with Democratic State Rep. Brandon Phelps. Democratic State Rep. John Bradley voted in favor of the plan.
Lawmakers now could face consequences in the 2014 campaign, when Democrats will seek to preserve their "supermajority" status in the House and Senate.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)