Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) takes the oath of office in Springfield to represent the 44th District. Brady has served in the Illinois Senate since May of 2002, after a brief retirement from the Illinois House where he served from 1993 to 2001.
SPRINGFIELD - The new Illinois General Assembly has been sworn in.
State lawmakers have re-elected Michael Madigan as House speaker and are giving John Cullerton another two years as Senate president. Madigan says the pension crisis is the most pressing issue facing lawmakers. The Chicago Democrat addressed newly-sworn in House members Wednesday at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Madigan says it's a ``terribly contentious'' issue because any reform would be a change to what workers had been promised.
House lawmakers adjourned the lame-duck session Tuesday without calling for a vote on pension-related legislation. On pensions, Madigan also stressed the importance of addressing what's known as the ``cost-shift,'' where the state picks up downstate and suburban school district retirement costs.
Cullerton, 64, began his third term at the helm as the 98th General Assembly was sworn in Wednesday. The November election delivered to Cullerton a 40-19 majority over Republicans. That's the most Democrats elected in the Illinois Senate in at least 120 years. Cullerton's caucus members come not only from the Democratic stronghold of Chicago but from the far reaches of the state with varying philosophical ideas.
A lawyer and public defender, Cullerton has served in the Senate since 1991 after serving 12 years in the House. Republican Sen. Christine Radogno was chosen as minority leader.