Posted Online: Jan. 02, 2013, 1:18 pm

Illinois Senate returns Wed. to wrap up session

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) The Illinois Senate returns to the Capitol on Wednesday to begin a weeklong legislative session that could take up pension reform, legalizing gay marriage and banning assault rifles.

The 97th General Assembly will finish its work Jan. 9 when a new Legislature is sworn in. That means there are many lame-duck lawmakers not returning who might feel less constrained to vote for contentious issues. The House comes in Sunday.

Gov. Pat Quinn has made it a priority for the assembly to find a solution to the state employee retirement programs that are underfunded by $96 billion.

Supporters of gay marriage say they have enough votes to make Illinois the 10th state to legalize same-sex unions.

A ban on military-style assault weapons is on the agenda after the Connecticut school massacre.