State hearing looks if new pension law could be suspended

May 14, 2014

A hearing set for Wednesday afternoon could determine if some - or even all - of Illinois' new pension law will be suspended. The law is supposed to take effect next month.

A coalition of unions wants a hold put on the entire law, until a broader lawsuit seeking to have it declared unconstitutional is resolved. Anders Lindall is a spokesman for AFSCME, the state's largest public employees union. He says once someone retires, that can't be reversed.

"Yet they're being pressured and even forced to make those decisions despite all of the uncertainty of not knowing whether this law will be upheld, struck down or as we believe, ultimately, will be overturned."

Another group, the State Universities Annuitants Association, originally wanted the same thing. But with rapidly approaching deadlines by which university and community college employees need to decide whether to retire, they instead worked out a deal with the attorney general.  

It would delay provisions of the pension law that would otherwise have caused certain university employees to lose money unless they retire by this summer.  Those fears gave rise to a recent uptick in retirements. The hearing is set for 1:30, in Sangamon County Court.