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Illinois lawmakers skeptical about pension deal this spring

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2015, file photo, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, speaks to reporters while on the Senate floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield Ill. Cullerton says he's updating his proposal to overhaul Illinois' pension system after the state's Supreme Court ruled a 2013 law unconstitutional. Cullerton's spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon says Cullerton plans to meet with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday May 13, 2015 to figure out a plan on the pensions. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers are expressing skepticism the Legislature can pass a new pension overhaul this spring despite pressure from Gov. Bruce Rauner and major credit rating agencies.

Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz is chairwoman of the House pension committee, which held a hearing on Wednesday. She calls the odds of a deal before the session ends May 31 “slim.”

The Illinois Supreme Court last week ruled a 2013 pension overhaul unconstitutional.

Rauner wants legislators to approve a proposal to let workers keep benefits earned to date but move them to a less-generous plan going forward. He also wants a constitutional amendment to allow future benefits to be cut.

Senate President John Cullerton is pitching his own plan. But his spokeswoman says “what’s important is to get it right,” not a specific timeline.

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