Illinois is more than a year behind on payments to people who’ve been wronged by state government. Such individuals can seek compensation through the Court of Claims, which hears cases ranging from injuries caused by state workers to people unjustly imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.
Chief Justice Peter Birnbaum says the court has not let the budget impasse interfere with its work.
"I made the decision for the court: Let’s issue these orders, enter these awards. Because we felt that the claimants deserved to know that they won."
The problem is that the winners have no way of collecting their awards until the Illinois General Assembly approves each individual payment. Legislators have included Court of Claims awards in several bills. The only ones to pass were vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner, casualties of his broader budget fight with Democrats.