Illinois lawmakers and Governor Pat Quinn remain at a standstill over a pension overhaul plan. Legislative leaders sued the Governor last week after he blocked lawmaker paychecks because of inaction on the state's growing pension obligations.
House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton filed the lawsuit because they say the Illinois Constitution protects the salaries of members of the judiciary, the legislature, and the executive branch. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she can’t pay the salaries unless the Governor's veto is overridden or she receives a judge's orders.
Representative Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, says the decision to sue was appropriate:
"I think it would lead to very damaging long-term policies if governors can blackmail the legislature every time they don't get what they want out of the legislature. There's an important principal here. Our [Illinois] constitution foundation is here. I think we need to proceed with this and get some clarity to what powers the Governor does have." - Rep. Bob Pritchard
Pritchard says his district, which includes Northern Illinois University, has a lot of state workers who are anxious for a solution. Pritchard says he's waiting to hear the results of an analysis from a bipartisan committee working to solve the state's pension crisis. He doesn't feel calling lawmakers back to Springfield in special session would be useful before then.