Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Pension Legislation

State Rep. Joe Sosnowski offers Solution

Springfield… The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to throw out a 2013 law that sought to fix Illinois’ pension crisis is hardly a surprise. State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), who has offered his own legislation to fix the system, voted against the bill in 2013.

“Today’s ruling is just evidence everyone needs to get on the same page,” said Rep. Sosnowski. “I could not in good conscience vote for pension changes that I believed were unconstitutional and didn't do enough.”

The court ruled that Senate Bill 1, which passed the House 62-53-1 and signed into law by former Governor Pat Quinn, violates the Illinois Constitution. The Governor and General Assembly have a constitutional responsibility to adequately fund the State’s pension systems and guarantee the pension benefits of current state employees. Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution states that “membership in any pension or retirement system of the State… shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired." 

“I have legislation filed right now to remove the constitutional protection clause.  This needs to be the first step in order to change the system,” stated Sosnowski. “Our growing financial obligations to state employee pension systems continue to grow every day we fail to act. We are one of few states with a constitutional protection.  We are an exception to the rule.”

Rep. Sosnowski’s legislation, House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 9, would place a constitutional amendment on the next general election ballot allowing voters to repeal the pension protection clause in the Illinois constitution. The bill currently sits in the House Rules Committee where it waits to be assigned to a committee. 

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