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Judge: Constitution violated by legislators’ pay freeze vote

July 4, 2019

CHICAGO (AP) — A Cook County judge has ruled Illinois’ constitution was violated when legislators voted in recent years to freeze their pay.

The ruling handed down Tuesday is the result of a lawsuit filed by two former Democratic state senators, Michael Noland of Elgin and James Clayborne of Belleville, against state Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

Judge Franklin Valderrama wrote the state constitution is “unambiguous” about prohibiting lawmakers from making changes to the pay they receive in their current terms. The judge issued no orders as a result and scheduled another hearing for Aug. 7.

Mendoza in a statement called Valderrama’s ruling “complex and unfortunate.” She says she will fight the ruling. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Kwame Raoul says the office is reviewing the decision.

Lawmakers got their first raises in more than a decade this month when their $67,836 base salaries increased about $1,600 as part of the $40 billion budget Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed in June.

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