Illinois judge rules state pension overhaul unconstitutional

SPRINGFIELD - A Sangamon County Circuit judge has ruled that a state law intended to fix Illinois' pension shortfall is unconstitutional.

On Friday, Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Belz ruled in favor of labor unions and state retirees who sued to stop the state's pension overhaul.  The pension overhaul law, approved by state lawmakers and signed by Governor Pat Quinn last year, lowers employee contributions, but also lowers retirees' benefits.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a statement after Belz's decision, stating her office will immediately file an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, and that she will ask the court to expedite the appeal due to the potential impact the decision will have on the state's finances.  Governor-elect Bruce Rauner also wants the Illinois Supreme Court to rule quickly.

The We Are One coalition also issued a statement on Friday, stating the ruling is "a victory for every Illinois resident who believe in the integrity of the Constitution."

Illinois has the worst-funded state pension systems in the nation, as the state's five public retirement systems have an approximate $100 billion shortfall.

We will continue to provide updates to this story as they become available.
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