Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan seeks to break a protracted budget stalemate by putting pressure on Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislators in St. Clair County Circuit Court.
On Thursday, Madigan moved to dissolve a preliminary injunction that requires state workers be paid in the absence of a budget by Feb. 28, in a pending lawsuit that American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) brought against Rauner.
For more than a year and a half, the state has operated under a temporary order which has "removed any imperative for the executive and legislative branches to fulfill their basic constitutional obligations and resolve their budget impasse," Madigan wrote in the motion to dissolve.
"As they are considering budget issues for the second half of Fiscal Year 2017, it is appropriate and critical to clarify that the executive and legislative branches must enact legislation to authorize payment of state employees’ wages," her motion states.
AFSCME sued Rauner to lock in continued pay for the fiscal year, get medical claims paid, stop layoffs and retain step pay raises and semi-automatic promotions despite lack of a contract.
The case was assigned to Circuit Judge Robert LeChien, who authorized payment of state employee salaries by temporary order last year.
Rauner spokesperson Catherine Kelly issued a statement urging Madigan to reconsider her filing and to pledge "to do all we can to defend employee pay."
"It's disappointing to see any move to stop employee pay and disrupt government services, especially now as the Senate is on the verge of a bipartisan agreement to enact a balanced budget with changes to the system," Kelly stated. "This filing seeks to directly harm thousands of employee families and even more who rely on our dedicated state workers everyday."