Senate Bill 12 contains “fairly aggressive changes that are going to be hard for our members to vote for,” said Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago, the lead negotiator on this topic for his caucus. “We’ll do it if it means finally getting a budget.” But Senate Bill 12 may not be enough to satisfy Rauner, whose office directed me to Senate Bill 1309, a stand-alone Republican proposal for still more changes. Even passing that bill would offer no guarantee that Rauner would then come to the budget-negotiating table, given that he now refuses to be specific about his preconditions and is back in campaign mode for re-election in 2018. ContinuedBoth bills are stalled. And neither belongs in the state’s “grand bargain,” which is also stalled. The bills are, respectively, 136 and 165 pages long. And they deal with an area of law that’s dizzyingly complex, one that can’t be summed up by a few data points or anecdotes, and one in which seemingly minor adjustments can have major impacts on employees and employers. Workers’ comp deserves demands a separate, lengthy and thoughtful debate independent of the slow-moving hostage drama unfolding under the dome.
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