2013 kept lawmakers busy in the state capitol.
Illinois politicians faced three big hurdles this year, the controversy of concealed carry, ballooning pensions, and a back-log of bills.
Lawmakers were challenged by the Supreme Court to give gun owners a resolution to the concealed carry debate.
After several delays and some heated debate, Illinois became the final state to pass a concealed carry law.
2014 will bring new challenges as state police are still working out the job of enforcing it.
The end of the fiscal year in June showed Illinois once again facing billions of dollars in unpaid bills.
The biggest financial crisis came in the form of the state’s ever growing pension.
The lack of funding even led Illinois’ credit rating to be downgraded twice, making it the lowest in the country.
After threats from Governor Quinn, and two months of working without a paycheck, the legislature finally passed a pension reform plan in early December.
The battle isn’t over though.
Employee unions are threatening lawsuits.
The bill includes big changes for state workers and retirees, including a later retirement age and lower cost of living increases.
The pension changes are slated to take effect in June.
While Illinois was battling its own fiscal concerns, the US government faced similar struggles.
This summer, President Obama traveled the country to calm concerns over the state of the economy.
He started his trip right here in central Illinois, visiting Knox College in Galesburg.
The president continued to push for the Affordable Care Act during his time in Illinois.
In October, millions of Americans were encouraged to make his vision their reality, after thwarting for technology troubles and a lackluster response from America’s younger generation.
The insurance coverage is set to kick-in on January first.
It was a year of social change in Illinois as well.
In November, the state joined the ranks of others who signed a same-sex marriage law into the books.
Wedding bills will start ringing this June.