News Local/State

Pension Law Dead For Good; Madigan Won’t Appeal

The title page of the lawsuit Doris Heaton v Pat Quinn and the State of Illinois.

The U.S. Supreme Court will not get the last word on Illinois’ attempts to cut government pension costs; a 2013 pension law is dead, for good. There'd been a slim possibility the law would have another big day in court. (Photo: Amanda Vinicky/WUIS)

Lawmakers attempt at reducing the state's ballooning retirement costs was viewed as landmark when it passed in 2013. 

Also major? A ruling this May from Illinois' Supreme Court that that law --- with its reduced benefits -- was unconstitutional.

Justices found that it defies a provision in the constitution protecting government retirement benefits.   

Seemingly, the final word. But in July, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court asking for extra time to consider whether she'd appeal to it.Madigan described that as "routine." 

"The extension request was nothing more than can we have additional time to make a decision about whether or not we'll file a cert petition, which is what you have to do in order of the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether or not they'll take a case. And so it is typical that we do that in courts," Madigan said last month. "so there’s really nothing exciting."

The request for an extension was granted, but Madigan's office says after an analysis, it has decided it will not ask the nation's high court to review the pension case.  

Years of under-funding coupled with stock losses during the recession means Illinois' unfunded liability looms at more than $100 billion; legislators haven't spent much time devising new solutions for reducing it.