Sen. Cristina Castro

SPRINGFIELD – A plan sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) aimed at mitigating the threat of the state’s pension crisis was signed into law Wednesday.

“The number one budget issue legislators have been dealing with for decades is the pension crisis,” Castro said. “We got a victory today with this consolidation plan, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

The new law will enact many changes to pension statute, chief among them the ability to consolidate. Under the law, the roughly 650 separate pension funds for downstate police officers and firefighters will be consolidated into two individual and separate funds over a 30-month transition period in January. The consolidation process is estimated to save $160 million annually, while not affecting individual pension amounts.

Senate Bill 1300 takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.