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Measure Details

Proposed Amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution Relating to Pension or Retirement Benefit Increase for Public Employees and Officials

Illinois Ballot Measure -

Election: Nov. 6, 2012 (General)
Outcome: Passed

Categories:
Entitlements and the Safety Net
Constitution
Senior Citizens

Yes
5,236,120
(54.69%)

Argument For

No
4,337,888
(45.31%)

Argument Against

Summary

The proposed amendment adds a section to the Illinois Constitution requiring a three-fifths majority vote to approve any pension or retirement benefit increase for public employees and officials.

The proposed amendment requires a three-fifths vote of each chamber of the General Assembly (the Senate and the House of Representatives) for a bill that provides a pension benefit increase, except for appropriation bills. "Benefit increase" means a change to any pension or other law that results in a member of a pension or retirement system receiving a new benefit or an enhancement, including any changes that (i) increase the amount of a member's pension, or (ii) reduce or eliminate the eligibility requirements or other terms or conditions a member must meet to receive a pension. It also means a change to any pension or other law that expands the class of persons who may become members of any pension or retirement system. An increase in salary or wage level, by itself, does not constitute a "benefit increase," unless the increase exceeds limitations provided by law.

The proposed amendment would also require a two-thirds vote for lawmakers to override a governor's veto or accept a governor's proposed changes in a rewrite of pension increase legislation. Currently, it takes a three-fifths vote to override a veto and only a simple majority to accept a governor's changes.

The proposed amendment requires approval of three-fifths of the members of the governing body of a unit of local government or school district for any ordinance, resolution, rule, or other action that provides an enhancement or emolument increase to an employee or officer that has the effect of increasing the pension of that employee or officer. "Emolument increase" means the creation of a new, or enhancement of an existing, advantage, profit, or gain that an official or employee receives by virtue of holding office or employment, which includes compensated time off, bonuses, incentives, or other forms of compensation. An increase in salary or wage level, by itself, does not constitute an "emolument increase," unless the increase exceeds limitations provided by law.

The proposed amendment requires approval of three-fifths of the members of the governing body of a pension or retirement system for any action that results in a "beneficial determination." A "beneficial determination" is an interpretation or application of law that reverses or supersedes a previous decision if that interpretation or application (i) results in an increase in the overall amount of pension benefits received by a member or (ii) results in a person becoming eligible to receive a pension. "Beneficial determination" does not include a final decision mandated by the courts.

Voters that believe the Illinois Constitution should be amended to require a three-fifths majority vote to approve any pension or retirement benefit increase for public employees and officials should vote "YES" on the question. Three-fifths of those voting on the question, or a majority of those voting in the election, must vote "YES" in order for the amendment to become effective. Voters that believe the Illinois Constitution should not be amended to require a three-fifths majority vote to approve any pension or retirement benefit increase for public employees and officials should vote "NO" on the question.

Measure Text

Upon approval by the voters, the proposed amendment, which takes effect on January 9, 2013, adds a new section to the General Provisions Article of the Illinois Constitution. The new section would require a three-fifths majority vote of each chamber of the General Assembly or the governing body of a unit of local government, school district, or pension or retirement system, in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system. At the general election to be held on November 6, 2012, you will be called upon to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.

If you believe the Illinois Constitution should be amended to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system, you should vote "YES" on the question. If you believe the Illinois Constitution should not be amended to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system, you should vote "NO" on the question. Three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election must vote "YES" in order for the amendment to become effective on January 9, 2013

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