Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pension Reform May Require Change in Illinois Constitution

“If the state's new pension law is found unconstitutional, which looks more likely in light of a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision, one obvious remedy is to amend the constitution.

“’We need that flexibility,” said Rep. Joseph Sosnowski, R-Rockford, who introduced a constitutional amendment proposal last year that died in committee. “Now, based off this court ruling, this may be our last ability to look at trying to modify pensions.”’ He plans to re-introduce his proposed amendment in the spring, “’especially in light of the court's decision.”’ READ MORE

Title: “Amending the Illinois Constitution a tough path for pension reform”
Author: Paul Merrion
Source: Crain’s Chicago Business
Date Published: July 16, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Full Text Supreme Court Ruling July 3, 2014

For full text of the Illinois Supreme Court Ruling Opinion filed on July 3, 2014:
click here

Court Ruling May Prove Favorable
for Pension Lawsuit

“The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state cannot diminish or impair health insurance premium subsidies for retired state employees.

Government and union officials disagree about how the ruling, which says the subsidies are “a benefit of membership in a pension or retirement system” and as a result “are constitutionally protected from any diminishment or impairment,” will impact the state’s pending pension reform litigation, if at all. The law that enabled the state to charge retirees for insurance premiums was passed in 2012.READ MORE

Title: “Illinois Supreme Court ruling could be omen for pension reform lawsuit”
Author: Meaghan Kilroy
Source: Pensions & Investments

Date Published: July 3, 2014

Victory for Members of State Retirement Systems

"Pension reform, RIP?

In a case with ominous implications for the state's pension reform law, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that the state constitution prevents any diminishment of health care benefits for retired state employees.

According to the 6-1 decision, the pension protection clause -- which says that retirement benefits are a contractual agreement that “cannot be diminished or impaired” -- applies to other retirement benefits, not just pensions. That overrode the state's argument that its emergency powers, in dealing with its budget crisis, justified an increase in what retirees must pay for their health benefits." READ MORE

Title: "Pension reform dealt blow by Illinois Supreme Court"
Author: Paul Merrion
Source: Crain's Chicago Business
Date Published: July 3, 2014

Court Ruling Favors Public Employees

"No escaping the consequences of a high court ruling that puts public employees in driver's seat.

The Illinois Supreme Court didn't say so specifically, but the import of two recent decisions (one by the high court itself and the other by a trial judge citing precedent) is clear: the Illinois Constitution is a political and financial suicide pact in which all state citizens are a party.

Ten days ago, Cook County Circuit Judge Mary Mikva blocked citizen initiatives aimed at creating competitive legislative elections or putting limits on how long our legislators can serve. The decision leaves the state's powers-that-be free to pursue the policies that have led to financial ruin and laughingstock status." READ MORE

Title: "Court ruling is a real killer"
Author: Editorial
Source: The News-Gazette
Date Published: July 6, 2014