Two groups representing educators today filed suit against the state\’s new pension-reform law late today, contending that it violates provisions of the Illinois Constitution.
In an action filed in Cook County Circuit Court, the Illinois Retired Teachers Association and the School Administrators Association contend that, by recently voting to reduce cost-of-living hikes and other benefits without the permission of workers and retirees, the General Assembly acted counter to mandates in the constitution that specifically protect pension benefits once someone is hired.
The new measure, which lawmakers said would save $160 billion over the next 30 years, will not take effect until June 30. \”But the law will be in effect\” then, said Chicago attorney Gino DiVito, the attorney for the plaintiffs.
Worker unions have threatened to sue since even before the bill was approved last month, arguing that their members paid what was required toward their retirement and that the state dropped the ball. Even before the suit, the retired-teachers group on its website had been appealing for funds to pay for it.
Both Gov. Pat Quinn and House Speaker Michael Madigan have expressed confidence that the new law is \”constitutionally sound,\” as Mr. Quinn put it in a statement this evening. \”This historic law squarely addresses the most pressing fiscal crisis of our time.\”
But Senate President John Cullerton has been skeptical and has said he\’s prepared to move forward with a more modest proposal if need be.
The case is assigned to Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall. But whatever she does, the case eventually is certain to be decided by the Illinois Supreme Court.