Pension Reform Challenges Consolidated; Case to Move Forward in Sangamon County

By March 21, 2014 Events No Comments

As we have noted in the Extra Mile, we continue to follow on your behalf the variety of legal challenges to the recently passed “pension reform” legislation.

A Sangamon County judge ruled on March 3 that the five separate lawsuits (to date) challenging last year’s pension reform law would be “consolidated” and heard together in a Sangamon County courtroom. The lawsuits allege that the law violates the Illinois Constitution’s protections against diminishing pension benefits.

Signed into law on December 5, 2013, Senate Bill 1 (Public Act 98-0599), was designed to address shortfalls to the state’s public pension systems. The effective date of the law is June 1, 2014; however, the pending lawsuits may delay its implementation.

In response to the law, various public employee groups, including the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1. The plaintiffs claim, in part, that the law violates the guarantees provided by Article XII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution, which states: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

We will continue to follow the litigation and provide updates as the case develops.

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