Illinois Attorney General, AFSCME Clash In Court Over State Employee Paychecks

Jun 13, 2017

Attorney General Lisa Madigan argued in court Tuesday that paying state employees removes “any imperative” for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly to “fulfill their basic constitutional obligations ... and resolve their budget impasse.”

Madigan is trying to halt state employee paychecks. She said only the General Assembly can approve state spending, which means Illinois does not have the legal authority to make payroll.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) -- the largest union representing Illinois state employees -- opposes the move. Lawyer Steve Yokich said employees could have been told to stay home during the impasse, but instead were told the opposite.

“We say that, if the employer tells you to go to work,” Yokich said, "they have a legal obligation to pay you at your regular rate of pay, in a timely way, for that work."

There’s no schedule for when the Appellate Court might resolve the case; even when they do, the losing party could seek an appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court. This means any potential government shutdown remains a long way off.