Attorney General files opening brief in pension appeal

SPRINGFIELD - Attorney General Lisa Madigan has entered an opening brief in the appeal of a lower court's ruling that Illinois' pension overhaul law is unconstitutional.

According Madigan, the state's pension overhaul law should be upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court because the state has "police powers," which allows it to alter a contract in extraordinary circumstances.

State lawmakers passed the pension overhaul legislation in 2013 in order to close a $111 billion pension shortfall.  Under the law, state retirees' benefits would be reduced.  In response, retirees and labor unions sued, arguing that the reduction of pension benefits is prohibited in the Illinois Constitution.

However, Madigan says without the pension overhaul law, nearly 25 percent of the state's revenue would go towards pension payments.  Several other groups, such as the Illinois Municipal League and Chicago Public Schools, have also filed briefs supporting the state's efforts.
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