* The first volley…
A retired state judge has filed suit in Sangamon County to block a new state law that will begin charging state retirees premiums for their state health insurance.
Gordon Maag, a retired appellate justice who lost a bid for the state Supreme Court in 2004, wants the law declared unconstitutional.
He also is asking that the case be declared a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all retirees affected by the law.
Maag argues that the new law “purports to diminish and impair the benefits of members of pension and retirement systems of the state of Illinois, in that [the law] abolishes free health insurance to Illinois retirees who were and are entitled to free health insurance on account of working for the state for 20 or more years of service, or, in the case of retired legislators, four years, and in the case of retired judges, six years.” […]
A staff member for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whose office will defend the new law in court, said hearings in the case apparently have not yet been scheduled.
* The fight will be over whether health insurance is a constitutionally protected benefit of membership in a pension system or whether it’s a perk granted by the General Assembly. From the Constitution…
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.