A Republican Illinois state lawmaker on Tuesday screamed and threw papers into the air while decrying the state's Democrat-led pension reform bill that could be en route to passage thanks to the support of powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan.
"Total power in one person's hand -- not the American way!" screamed state Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) before throwing a stack of papers into the air.
His tirade came on the heels of a new pension reform proposal -- Senate Bill 1673 -- being approved by a state pension committee and heading to the House floor for discussion within a matter of hours -- before lawmakers could even read it, Bost argued, according to WSIL.
"These damn bills that come out here all the damn time, come out here at the last second. I've got to figure out how to vote for my people! You should be ashamed of yourselves! I'm sick of it!" Bost screamed.
"Enough!" Bost continued. "I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt. Let my people go! .. I'm trapped by rules that have been forced down our throats."
Bost and other state Republican lawmakers have expressed frustration with Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's targeting of state payouts to Illinois schools to cover pensions. Quinn has proposed passing that bill onto the schools themselves -- a move that downstate schools argue could financially cripple them. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has commented that the proposal is "immoral."
The governor's office has estimated that the proposal will save the state between $65 billion and $115 billion.
Weighing in on the matter, House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) said Madigan, who has served in the state General Assembly since 1971, has "had your fingerprints on the mess we have today" for more than four decades, the Herald & Review reports. He commented, according to CBS Chicago, that the proposal is a "poison pill."
In response, Madigan urged his fellow lawmakers not to "get swept up in the emotion of the moment," the State Journal-Register reports.
"Frustration, tension, interaction with different personalities pursuing different agendas – that’s life in the General Assembly. That’s life in the House of Representatives," Madigan said, according to the paper.
Gov. Quinn previously proposed to address the state's growing pension crisis by delaying state workers' retirement and upping their own contributions to their retirement plans.
A vote on SB 1673 -- as well as other pension reform bills -- could happen Wednesday. The state General Assembly is preparing to adjourn for the summer Thursday.
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