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Lawmaker pay freezes unconstitutional, judge rules

July 4, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The attorney for an ex-lawmaker who won a dispute this week over General Assembly pay says the lawsuit was to “vindicate the independence of each legislator.”

Michael Scotti III represents former Elgin Democratic state Sen. Michael Noland. His 2017 lawsuit claimed that legislation freezing lawmakers’ pay from 2009 to 2017 violated the Illinois Constitution.

Associate Circuit Judge Franklin Valderrama ruled this week that the constitutional prohibition on altering a legislator’s compensation midterm includes freezing it. State Comptroller Susana Mendoza argued that the ban doesn’t apply to pay reductions.

Noland is now a Kane County judge. Former Belleville Democratic Sen. James Clayborne later joined the lawsuit.

Mendoza denounced what she called a “shameless money-grab.” Scotti called the comment unwarranted.

A hearing is set for Aug. 7.

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Court ruling: https://bit.ly/2XOzKyz

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