22
May , 2018
Tuesday

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SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement on the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Kanerva v. Weems that a 2012 law altering state retirees’ health insurance benefits violated the Pensions Clause of the Illinois Constitution. Raoul chaired the conference committee that produced last year’s compromise pension reform law, which is now the subject of pending litigation, and negotiated a reform plan for City of Chicago retirement systems.

During the years-long debate over various pension reform proposals, I have consistently cautioned that we must align our actions with the constitution’s protections of state workers and their benefits. However, while we could examine previous decisions and discuss the legal precedents, there was no sure way to obtain guidance from the courts on this matter aside from passing a law and waiting for them to react.

Today, we begin to glimpse the nature of this reaction.

The Illinois Supreme Court has handed down a forceful decision, backed by six of its seven justices. Its powerful affirmation of the constitution’s protection of contractual rights and promised benefits may serve as a predictor of how this court will handle challenges to Senate Bill 1 and similar reform measures.

Today’s ruling did not speak directly to the “police powers” argument that in times of fiscal emergency, the state may be justified in taking extraordinary steps to balance its responsibilities and carry out its duties to all residents. But the court did clarify that in addition to protecting contractual rights, the Pensions Clause insulates public employees from the diminishment of their benefits by the General Assembly.

We must wait for the specifics of future opinions to firmly establish the parameters of a constitutional approach to meeting our obligations and setting our state on a firm financial footing. No matter what those specifics are, I remain committed to a long-term solution that improves our state and protects the rights of our valued public employees.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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