* Last month…
The state’s attorney general says two former lawmakers should not receive back pay for frozen cost-of-living increases and forced furlough days because they previously voted to approve the two laws and waited “for so long” to file a lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.
Those laws, a Cook County judge ruled last month, violated an article of the state’s governing document that dictates legislators’ wages cannot be changed during the terms for which they were elected.
Judge Franklin Valderrama’s ruling was a partial win for two former senators — Democrats Michael Noland, from Elgin, and James Clayborne Jr., from Belleville — who sued for lost wages.
* Last week…
Two former Democratic state senators are asking a Cook County judge to order Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza to pay back wages they and other lawmakers gave up when legislators voted repeatedly over a decade to freeze their salaries. […]
Noland, now a Kane County judge, originally filed the lawsuit in 2017, seeking back pay for himself and “all others impacted” by bills lawmakers passed to give up the annual cost-of-living raises they are automatically granted under state law. The lawsuit, which Clayborne joined as a plaintiff last year, also takes issue with unpaid furlough days lawmakers approved for themselves each year from 2009 through 2013.
Mendoza “has a clear, non-discretionary duty to pay the members of the General Assembly, including Plaintiffs, the salary unconstitutionally withheld for the furlough days and the (cost-of-living adjustments) for the relevant years,” Noland and Clayborne argue in their motion. […]
Clayborne, now an attorney in private practice, voted in favor of the measures each time. From 2009 to 2016, Noland only once voted against the legislation canceling cost-of-living raises and approving unpaid furlough days.
* From Comptroller Mendoza…
The judge has issued no order to pay any legislators raises they voted not to accept. I think the arguments have just begun over whether legislators can make big election-year speeches about voting to turn down a raise, issue re-election news releases touting their selflessness in turning down a raise; then years later, shamelessly file a lawsuit to force taxpayers to retroactively pay them $10 million for raises they turned down to get re-elected. These hypocrites don’t deserve a penny. How can it be more constitutional to hike salaries mid-term than to keep salaries the same?