Judge rules withholding of lawmakers’ pay unconstitutional

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Illinois lawmakers are ordered to get paid, after a judge ruled that withholding state legislators’ wages was unconstitutional.

According to a report by the New York Times a Cook County judge announced the ruling on Thursday, September 26, 2013. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said he would appeal the ruling with the goal to prevent paychecks from going out to legislators.

According to the report, Quinn suspended pay for the General Assembly in July after lawmakers missed a deadline to solve Illinois’ $100 billion pension liability. Legislators’ salaries and stipends were withheld.

President of the Senate, John J. Cullerton and the speaker of the House, Michael J. Madigan sued Quinn, arguing that withholding pay violated a section of the Illinois Constitution.

Judge Neil H. Cohen, associate judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County ordered that lawmakers should be immediately paid the money that was withheld, plus back interest.

Quinn said he planned to challenge the ruling.

“Illinois’ pension crisis is costing taxpayers millions of dollars a day, robbing our children of the education and public safety services they desperately need, and holding our economy back from real recovery,” said Quinn, who has reportedly given up his own salary. “Nobody in Springfield should get paid until the pension reform job gets done.”

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