THE WE Are One Illinois union coalition, the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), and plaintiffs filed a motion for injunctive relief in Sangamon County Circuit Court that seeks to stop the implementation of pension reform legislation, Senate Bill 1, Public Act 98-599, by seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction until a final resolution on the bill’s merits is reached.
JUDGE John Belz granted
the temporary injunction May 14.
ACT makes cuts to the
pensions of working and retired members of the State Universities Retirement
System (SURS) Teachers' Retirement System, and State Employees' Retirement
System. It reduces the value of retirement benefits through cutting
cost-of-living adjustments. It also caps the amount of salary that earns a
T. CARRIGAN, President
of the Illinois AFL-CIO, made the following statement to the media explaining why an injunction is
“The pension theft bill must
not be implemented before the courts have ruled. The fair and proper thing to
do is not to allow this legislation to cause any damage until the courts have
spoken on its constitutionality. Otherwise, teachers, first responders, nurses,
and other state and university employees and retirees will be irreparably
harmed. People are being forced to make irrevocable, life-altering retirement
decisions. Yet they face these decisions in an uncertain economic environment
while awaiting a court ruling. The pension theft bill should -- and, we
believe, will -- be overturned, but the decision to retire cannot be undone. A
complete stay of the bill's implementation is necessary to avoid irreparably
harming active and retired teachers and state and university employees.”
JUDGE’S action stays
the legislation in its entirety so that the pension systems and other
defendants are enjoined from implementing or administering any provisions of
the act until the court issues a final ruling on the merits of the act’s
constitutionality or until further order of the court. In other words, the
injunction will remain in effect until a determination is made on the law’s
constitutionality, unless the court takes further action on the injunction
prior to that time.
COURT found that
plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on their contention that Public
Act 98-599 violates the Pension Protection Clause of the Illinois Constitution.
IS an important first
step in our efforts to overturn this unfair, unconstitutional law and to
protect retirement security for working and retired Illinois families,"
said Carrigan. "We are pleased the court prudently chose to halt
implementation of these sweeping changes, which have caused so much fear and
uncertainty and are likely to be overturned."
ADDITION to its injunctive efforts, the coalition will
continue to seek to overturn SB 1 through a lawsuit challenging the
constitutionality of the bill.