A Cook County Circuit Court judge was expected to hear arguments today in a lawsuit challenging Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to stop lawmakers from being paid until they agree on how to deal with Illinois’ nearly $100 billion public pension problem.
House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton sued after Quinn used his line-item veto earlier this summer to cut money for legislators’ salaries from the state budget.
They contend that their fellow Chicago democrat’s actions were unconstitutional and violated the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
The lawmakers have asked Judge Neil Cohen to order paychecks to be issued. Cohen set oral arguments for today. Cohen ultimately recessed court, saying he would have a decision by Sept. 26.
Quinn says he has the authority to veto the salaries. He says if lawmakers want to be paid they can return to Springfield and vote to override his veto, though he acknowledges such a move could be unpopular with voters.
Lawmakers, who make a base annual salary of about $67,000 plus bonuses for serving in leadership posts, already have missed two monthly paychecks.