• House members rejected a bill to ban possession of multi-round ammunition feeding devices. Ammunition feeding devices, originally invented for use with combat arms, have become standard components of many types of firearms. Firearms that use or even require the use of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, such as the 17-round Glock-17 handgun and the 30-round AR-15 rifle, are found in many Illinois homes. Floor Amendment #10 to HB 1156, debated by the House on Wednesday, March 13, would have banned possession of most magazines and devices with a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and would have required their possessors to turn in these banned magazines within 180 days after the effective date of the Act. Continued possession of these magazines and devices after this deadline would have been a criminal offense. Opponents of the measure asserted that because many guns use or even require the use of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, banning these magazines would have been effectively the same as banning the use or possession of the underlying guns. The vote on Floor Amendment #10 to HB 1156 was 57-59-1. Representative Brauer voted NO.
• Pension debate continues. On Thursday, March 14, the House voted 76-41-0 (Brauer voted “no”) for a major pension reform contained in HB 1166, which, as amended, includes an increase of up to 5 years in the number of years that many State workers will be required to work before claiming pension eligibility. The vote followed a 101-15-0 vote (Brauer voting “no”) to enact HB 1154 and cap top pensionable salaries at $113,700. These bills only deal, however, with fragments of the overall pension crisis. Senators have made similar signals in recent days in favor of complex and often contradictory forms of pension reform. House Republican Leader Tom Cross responded to votes on HB 1166, HB 1154 and other moves by stating his continued support for bipartisan efforts to develop a comprehensive retirement-reform program, as well as piecemeal reforms, that will reduce or eliminate Illinois’ unfunded pension liabilities and bring solvency to the pension systems.