Senate returns after Democrats push ahead on ‘grand bargain’

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Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ The Illinois Senate returns to work after a stormy day in which Democrats pushed ahead with votes on the “grand bargain” budget compromise.

Republicans weren’t ready for votes on the negotiated package Wednesday. But Democratic Senate President John Cullerton said the scheduled May 31 adjournment date is closing in and he’s tired of waiting.

Democrats pushed through significant pieces. They included an overhaul to the way schools are funded and a fix for beleaguered state pension systems. Democrats approved a $36.5 billion budget, but a measure to authorize implementation failed.

Cullerton declared major progress and said he would call votes on other legislation Thursday.

Illinois has been without a budget for two years because of a stalemate between Democrats and GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Overdue bills topped $14 billion Wednesday.