In response to a recent court ruling authorizing the prioritization of state legislators’ pay over other outstanding obligations, State Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) filed a Constitutional Amendment that, if approved by Illinois voters, would allow greater discretion when issuing salary payments for members of the General Assembly. McConchie said this would allow Illinois’ other fiscal obligations to be prioritized over legislators and Executive Branch officers pay.
“There is no reason why the court should force legislator pay to be prioritized over the hundreds of vendors, providers and agencies who have been waiting months for reimbursement from the state,” said Sen. McConchie. “This Constitutional Amendment seeks to right that wrong and allows the state’s interests and well-being to be placed ahead of legislators.”
Last spring, former Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger opted to place legislators’ paychecks in line with the other overdue bills, as the state struggled to meet its obligations due to the ongoing budget impasse. In December, a lawsuit was filed by six legislators, arguing for their legislative pay to be prioritized ahead of hospitals, human services organizations and universities that are also waiting for payments from the state.
Today, the Cook County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the six legislators, citing a violation of the Illinois Constitution, which prohibits a change in salary of a General Assembly member. In response, Sen. McConchie’s constitutional amendment seeks to give Illinois voters the opportunity to change that section of the Constitution.
Under this proposed Constitutional Amendment, a delay in payment of the salary does not constitute a change in the salary of a member if the delay in payment is necessary to ensure that the state’s other bills are paid in a timely manner.
“This is a common sense proposal. Legislators who are failing to pass a balanced budget should not have their pay be put in front of the line over that state’s most vulnerable,” said McConchie.
Click here for video sound bites from Sen. McConchie.
Click here to read the full text of the Constitutional Amendment.
Watch Sen. McConchie address his constituents below: