Illinois General Assembly sues Gov. Pat Quinn

Jul 30, 2013

The leaders of the Illinois General Assembly have sued Governor Pat Quinn over his veto of lawmakers' salaries. As IPR’s Brian Mackey reports, the leaders say they're trying to protect the independence of the legislature:

Quinn vetoed lawmakers salaries out of the budget as a sort-of punishment for not passing legislation to overhaul Illinois' government-employee pension systems. In a joint lawsuit filed in Cook County, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton say the governor overstepped his bounds.

Rikeesha Phelon is a spokeswoman for the Senate president: "The purpose of the lawsuit is to ... preserve the separation of powers, and we're hoping that a court will be able to remedy the situation."

Quinn and both leaders are Democrats. The lawsuit argues if Quinn is not checked, he and future governors will forever "hold a trump card over a co-equal branch of government." It says in the future, salaries could be cut in disputes over abortion, gun control, or even tax policy.

In a statement, Quinn says legislators are wasting time with the lawsuit, and instead ought to be focusing on pension legislation.

Lawmakers are set to miss their first paycheck of the new budget year this week on Aug. 1.