Illinois Legislature Passes Pension Reform

Dec 3, 2013, 7:58 pm EDT

Facing one of the worst pension funding crises of any city or state in the U.S., Illinois finally got its financial ducks in a row today.

State lawmakers passed a bill during a special session today that will address unfunded liabilities in the state pension plan. Illinois, which owes its pension plan $100 billion, will save $160 billion over the next 30 years, and will immediately reduce its unfunded liability by about 20 percent.

The bill made it through the Senate by a 30-24 vote and through the House by a 62-53 vote. It was supported by both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders and by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who has pushed the legislature to pass pension reform all year. After attempts to get a bill done in spring failed, along with a summer session that led to a legislative committee that hammered out a bill, Quinn’s efforts seem to have finally paid off. Read 

Obama Announces $100M HIV Research Project

Dec 3, 2013, 12:29 pm EDT
Obama Announces $100M HIV Research Project

President Barack Obama, announced on Monday, that he is moving $100 million toward a research project to fight HIV. Source:

The research project will be handled by the National Institutes of Health and will work to find a way cure for HIV, the Associated Press notes.

“We will stand with you through every step of this journey until we reach the day possible when all men and women can protect themselves from infection, a day when all people with HIV infection have access to treatment to save their lives,” President Obama told Politico. Read 

White House Claims Glitches Fixed

Dec 2, 2013, 9:46 am EDT
White House Claims Glitches Fixed

Two months after it launched, the Obama administration says that the federal health insurance exchange that covers 36 states is finally able to serve most users. debuted on Oct. 1, the most visible part of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, but was widely criticized for numerous glitches that left users unable to access the exchange or purchase insurance coverage. Chasten by the mounting backlash against the troubled website rollout, the White House brought in new experts and promised to have the exchange working by the end of November, the Washington Post notes.

Now, the administration says it has met that goal. According to an official tapped to lead the overhaul of, the website now functions properly 90% of the time. That’s up from 43% in October. Administration officials said that while the website is performing significantly better now, compared to its launch, some users will still face delays. There are also concerns that insurance providers will continue to encounter problems exchanging information with the website. Read 

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