Judge denies AG Madigan’s request to block state workers’ pay
ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK
Illinois state workers will continue to be paid despite Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s challenge.
A St. Clair County judge ruled Thursday afternoon that the state’s employees can still be paid absent a specific appropriation from the General Assembly. The ruling reaffirms a judge’s opinion from the start of the budget stalemate that said state workers should be paid without a budget bill in place.
Madigan argued in the case that state employee pay needs to be halted, based on an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that said collective bargaining agreements can be broken if there no money appropriated to pay the workers.
She asked that the judge give the state until Feb. 28 before halting pay. In her filing, Madigan said lawmakers and the governor had enough time to negotiate a budget and that stopping worker pay would spur the passage of a budget.
Republicans took Madigan to task for trying to interject into the ongoing negotiations, questioning her timing, and saying that she’s now filed to stop worker pay only to create a crisis.
Rauner’s office released a statement shortly after the ruling.
“We’re pleased our hard-working state employees, who show up to work every day on behalf of the people of Illinois, will continue to be paid,” said Dennis Murashko, General Counsel to the Governor. “It is our hope the Attorney General drops this lawsuit so the bipartisan negotiations in the Senate can continue in order to reach a balanced budget with changes to get our state back on track.”
In a statement, Madigan’s spokeswoman said, “the state has spent over $3 billion in taxpayer money without any transparency or legislative debate as required by law. The Governor is using this injunction to avoid following the Constitution and enacting a budget, irreparably harming the people of Illinois.”
Madigan’s office said it will appeal the ruling.
In an email to employees, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch wrote, “We have many battles yet to fight over the coming months — but right now it’s very good to know that all state employees can be confident that you will continue to be paid!”
State Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Raymond, said the judge’s decision was a reflection of how inappropriate the attorney general’s decision was to attempt a government shutdown.
“I’m really glad that the court decision protects state employees and their families and will avert a government shutdown,” Bourne said.
Bourne is the sponsor of a bill that would make state worker pay a continuing appropriation.