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Illinois Supreme Court hears pension case

The fate of a major state pension overhaul is in the hands of the Illinois Supreme Court.  Oral arguments were held this afternoon.  

The state law passed in 2013 reduced benefits for public employees like teachers, prison guards and many others. Unions object. They say a section of the state constitution clearly prevents the state from such action.  Carolyn Shapiro, representing the state, disagrees: 

"That is not what the clause says.  That is not what the clause is intended to do. That is not what the delegates to the Constitutional Convention discussed. And that is not how this court has ever read the clause." 

Shapiro says the state, in extreme circumstances, can change what it views as a contract with employees.  She points to the state's budget problems as a reason.  The state failed to contribute enough money for decades, which has led to the most underfunded system in the country.  

The court will consider the case.   There's no indication when a ruling be announced.  


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