The Illinois Senate yesterday approved a bill authorizing the sale of $16 billion of general obligation pension bonds to help bring down the state’s $42 billion unfunded pension liability, sending the measure to the House where it faces tougher opposition.

The bill required a three-fifths super majority — because it involves new debt issuance — and received it in a 37-21 vote.  Democrats control both chambers but don’t hold a super-majority in the House, so at least five Republican votes would be needed to pass the measure. Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan also has raised questions over the bond issue and it’s unclear whether he will support it.

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