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Republicans demand “aggressive” action on pension reform suit

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014

* From a press release…

Radogno, Durkin encourage Attorney General to aggressively pursue decision on pension reform

Springfield, Ill. – Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) on pension reform:

“We have shared a letter with the Attorney General expressing interest in an aggressive pursuit of a prompt decision on the pension reform legislation.

“We believe some legal procedures are available to the Attorney General to expedite the case and have respectfully encouraged her to use those procedures.

“Substantial financial consequences to the State, its retirement systems and current retired employees are at the heart of the pension reform litigation. We believe if the litigation is expedited and the State prevails, the fiscal stability of both the State and its retirement systems will substantially improve.

“All interested parties will benefit from a quick, but fair, final judicial decision. We urge the Attorney General to use the available avenues to accomplish that goal as we stand alongside her in this matter.”

* So, I asked, what are those legal procedures? The reply…

The letter references the most relevant actions, namely consolidation of various suits and a Supreme Court Rule 302 motion.

The AG has worked to consolidate the latest filing late last week in Champaign County from State University Annuitants. Consolidation helps the court decide on a similar question of fact and will assist in corralling all interested parties onto one court schedule.

The Rule 302 motion is applicable after a Circuit Court ruling. If successful, it would bypass the time and litigation with an appeal proceeding at the Appellate court and be heard directly at the Supreme Court from the circuit court decision.

The AG can also work to encourage the court to not allow unreasonable delays in the court proceedings in general.

So, AG Madigan has already done one of the things and can’t do the other until we get a circuit court ruling, but there is that last option, which I’m not sure applies yet because the case hasn’t even begun.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


42 Comments
  1. - Snowstorm - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:08 am:

    Very good. Let’s move it along. A resolution on way or the other helps Illinois move forward.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:08 am:

    –The AG can also work to encourage the court to not allow unreasonable delays in the court proceedings in general.–

    Whatever that means.

    Don’t really understand the purpose of the letter. It doesn’t put Lisa in a trick bag.

    Everyone knows it’s good to be the judge — you work at your own pace.


  3. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:12 am:

    They want to be seen as doing something…


  4. - x ace - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:12 am:

    meaningless political grandstanding


  5. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:15 am:

    I’d like to hear the ruling on the Maag case first


  6. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:19 am:

    It looks like they want to join Rauner and feels this is a safe way to “shake up Springfield”. Is it a political ploy? Probably. But when one is this far into being a powerless minority, the last thing in your favor is a pokey majority on an issue that could give you an opening somehow.

    I don’t know what they are accomplishing with this letter, but it does give them an illusion of life, just a wee bit, and that is probably good.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:26 am:

    One observation?

    This is like complaining to the host/hostess at the Cracker Barrel about not getting seated quickly;

    The host/hostess can’t dictate or magically open up tables, but golly, you feel so much better complaining to someone who has no control to when seats can open up.


  8. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    I demand immediate resolution of these lawsuits in favor of the employees and retirees.

    Hey, if the bit players can make silly demands why can’t I?


  9. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    Dumb advice. Consolidating the filings sometimes means more likely to be heard in Sangamon County, which would be bad for their side. Grandstanding.


  10. - circularfiringsquad - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    Can we get a refund on the stamps Durkie and THE SENATE MINORITY LEADER wasted?


  11. - Walker - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    Political grandstanding, directed at someone who is already ahead of them. Maybe they will take credit if she succeeds at speeding things up.


  12. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    Norseman is actually onto something: these cases are really pure “matter of law” questions which can be ruled on “summary judgment” motions. The A.G.’s office could go along with that rather than, say, challenge the standing of any of the plaintiffs or raise other fact-determinative aspects of the case and allow for a ruling in short order.


  13. - Andrew Szakmary - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:48 am:

    I see substantial problems consolidating the State Universities’ Annuitants Association lawsuit with the others. The pension legislation that was signed into law singles out SURS participants for much more draconian diminishments than in the case of the other systems. Specifically, SURS has a money purchase formula, and by chopping both the effective and prescribed rates of interest the new law drastically reduces the initial pension benefits that SURS participants who are first eligible to retire after June 30, 2014 will receive under this formula.

    While I believe that cuts to the 3% AAI and cuts to initial benefits are equally unconstitutional, even if by some twisted logic a court should conclude that cutting the AAI is not a diminishment, there is no logic that would support cutting initial benefits, as the money purchase formula changes in the law do.


  14. - Joe M - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:56 am:

    A wise attorney once told me that each case will have it own timetable and move forward at its own pace - and there usually isn’t anything one can do to change that pace.


  15. - Roadiepig - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    False bravado , wanting to take away one of the Baron’s talking points (he seems to talk like nothing has been done to harm the state retirees), or maybe wanting to prepare for the inevitable defeat after the most recent Arizona ruling? Your choice.


  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    Always tell when an election is near, the politicians start mouthing and demanding!


  17. - Say It Ain't So! - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:23 am:

    I know it was in reference to same sex marriages, but shouldn’t Lisa Madigan apply what Attorney General Eric Holder recently suggested, when he said that State Attorney Generals should not defend unconstitutional laws?


  18. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:25 am:

    Wonder how Representative Durkin’s brother Federal Court Judge Thomas Durkin would take to suggestions that he move his call along. (Not that he doesn’t do so already on his own without outside encouragement.)


  19. - RNUG - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    I want it resolved as quickly as anyone, but have the GOP thought out the political ramifications? Do they REALLY want these cases resolved in time to impact the FY15 budget and the November elections?

    If the ruling is in favor of the retirees, it blows another big hole in the FY15 and future budgets. And makes it more likely there will be additional taxes or draconian spending cuts in the near future.


  20. - gesquire - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    The AG will do whatever she can to get a decision after Nov.


  21. - A guy... - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    And that letter is going to move things along more quickly because…Think they might wait until they get some pressure from the people who really delivered the vote on this issue; Quinn, Madigan, Cullerton. Radogno earned a place in the conversation too. Durkin still swingin’ that 2 x 4 or is it a toothpick. They’ll decide when they’re ready unless the people listed above apply some pressure or a restless public does. Look for those things to happen at just about the same time. Surprised they had time to write a cogent letter with all the screaming going on looking for the CF leaker.


  22. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    RTB, Sangamon might not be much worse than Champaign, given the dominance of U of I in the county (remember how many times the state had to try to get rid of Health Alliance; the U of I folks were instrumental in those fights)


  23. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    === A wise attorney … ===

    Isn’t that an oxymoron?

    The only good attorney is the one that wins your case.


  24. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    This is really really simple folks. This is Quinn’s signature achievment, and it doesn’t matter how many R votes were on it, the bill is the dems baby. If it is overturned they lose a campaign issue. There’s also the bonus that they have to start talking about a tax increase sooner if it is overturned. Either way they’ll talk about it after November, but if the pension theft is overturned, they won’t be able to pretend there is anyway they can let the 5% rate sunset.


  25. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    ==the bill is the dems baby==

    Umm, I’m pretty sure the Republicans were part of the “pension solution” also. Man some of you really need to get a grip.


  26. - I B Strapped - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    ‘Radogno, Durkin encourage Attorney General to aggressively pursue decision on pension reform’

    So AG Madigan, Speaker Madigans daughter, would accede to your ‘encouragement’, because?


  27. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    It just occurred to me. Does anyone realize how royally screwed this state will be if the pension theft is overturned, AND Bruce Rauner becomes governor? I suppose they’ll pass the increase before his innauguration, but what if there isn’t a ruling yet? What will happen when BR is gov, and the courts rule in favor of retirees?

    There is no way Rauner will sign a tax increase, much less a CA for progressive rates. Spending will have to be slashed to the bone. It will very painful, and horrible for the economy. It matters not whether you think pensions should be cut, an honest ruling will take precedent and the clear language in the Constitution and rule the reform unconstitutional. What then? If BR is Gov, say goodbye to all nonessential state services. Seriously, is it even possible to run the state without the tax increase? What would that budget look like?

    If anyone here has looked at the budget in depth and knows if it is even possible for the state to get by with no pension cuts and a 3.5% tax rate, I’m curious what that sort of budget looks like.


  28. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    Demoralized, Two bills were put forward. One was Madigan’s (a Democrat), the other was Cullerton’s (a Democrat). Quinn (a Democrat) preferred Madigan’s. Quinn was peeved the lege wasn’t passing a bill fast enough, so he vetoed their pay. Then he used the bully pulpit to try to get the two Democratic leaders to agree and pass a bill. The final bill closely resembled Madigan’s. Much ado was had about the Constitutionality of Quinn’s legislative pay veto. The voters remember the fight between three dems to pass one of two democratically sponsored bills. The success or failure of pension reform will be laid at the Democrat’s feet. Like it or not, those R votes, while necessary are a footnote in the story of Pension reform.


  29. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:32 pm:

    Wait, strike that part about a CA. Not that there’s any chance of one anyway.


  30. - KirkCJenkins - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    This is very likely to go straight to the Supreme Court under one half or the other of Rule 302. If the Circuit Court strikes down the statute, it goes up under 302(a), if they don’t, I suspect the Court will take it as a matter of serious statewide importance under 302(b). If the AG doesn’t put up obstacles to a prompt motion for summary judgment, a decision shouldn’t take too long. The main issue of interest in the letter, seems to me, is this. The AG has an obligation to defend the bill vigorously. So if she views the best way to do that as bringing one or more preliminary motions - standing, motion to dismiss, whatever - are the letter writers suggesting she forego those options on behalf of the state?


  31. - gesquire - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    Motion To Substitute Special Assistant Attorney General


  32. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    I demand that the suit work its way through the court system without 302 being invoked. The more opinions we have on this, the better. The Appellate Court Justices should be heard on this, and the suit should wend its way through the courts in just the right amount of time needed for proper consideration and vetting by all parties. Until then, the politicians should butt out, and until then a stay should be put in place to keep the onerous provisions from taking effect. SURS members retiring under the Money Purchase formula rules will be the first affected on the law’s effective date.


  33. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    – I suppose they’ll pass the increase before his innauguration,–

    Not a chance. If Rauner wins, he’ll have to show his budget plan cards with the tax increases expiring.


  34. - Mama - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    Chief Judge Graves of Sangamon County assigned the consolidated court cases to the Honorable John Belz. The assigned judge is expected to schedule a case management hearing in the near future.


  35. - Mama - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    I have heard the Honorable Belz is a fair and honorable judge. I hope they are right!


  36. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    === – I suppose they’ll pass the increase before his innauguration,–

    Not a chance. If Rauner wins, he’ll have to show his budget plan cards with the tax increases expiring. ===

    Word, you are on target. That’s unfortunate, we can only hope for the time when decisions by legislators and governors are based on what’s best for the citizens of the state as opposed to what’s politically advantageous. Alas, that kind of scenario can only be played out in the movies.


  37. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    ===based on what’s best for the citizens of the state as opposed to what’s politically advantageous===

    If the citizens elect a governor who says he will allow the tax hike to expire, then that’s the best reason of all to not make it permanent.


  38. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 3:49 pm:

    === If the citizens elect a governor who says he will allow the tax hike to expire, then that’s the best reason of all to not make it permanent. ===

    Agreed, if I believed that would be the real motive for Madigan and Cullerton’s decision. I took Word’s point being that the Dem leadership was taking this from the perspective of giving Mr. .01 enough rope to hang himself and his supporters as opposed to their bowing to a electoral mandate. Of course, your response will be that the result is the same despite the true motivation.


  39. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    Norseman, I’d add that in the incredibly remote chance that the GA would pass tax increases in a lame-duck session after a Rauner victory, there’s no way in the world Quinn would sign them.


  40. - RNUG - Thursday, Mar 13, 14 @ 6:56 am:

    wordslinger / norseman,

    IF it were to reach his desk, I think Quinn MIGHT sign a lame duck bill even though ti would be a gift to Rauner. My reasoning is that this would be Quinn’s last hurrah and, if he is looking to secure a legacy that he left the state better than he found it (because he’s most likely going to lose his pension reform “legacy”), Quinn could seize that opportunity. After all, people voted Ogilvie out but still remember him for doing what needed to be done on taxes. I’d only give it a 1 in 50 chance …


  41. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, Mar 13, 14 @ 7:26 am:

    So much is just for show or to be able to say you did something or said something about an issue. I think the Republicans might actual like a ruling aginst the state by the elections. Puts the pension issue back in play for the Gov. race.


  42. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, Mar 13, 14 @ 7:27 am:

    Also, to follow up. The worse the budget the worse it is for the majority. The minority can always blame the ones in charge for how bad the gudget is.


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