The Illinois Senate approved a measure meant to trim the state pension system’s $97 billion in unfunded liabilities and reduce financial pressure on education and other programs. The scaled-back bill that passed 30-22 this week applies only to school teachers and gives them a choice of retirement options.

Earlier, the Senate rejected a more comprehensive measure that would have covered all state workers. “We need to start with pension reform,” says Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the adopted bill, which moves now to the House of Representatives.

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