Judge Rules Illinois Lawmaker Pay Freezes Unconstitutional

Jul 5, 2019

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 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 nearly 68-thousand dollar base salaries increased about 16-hundred dollars as part of the 40-billion dollar budget Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed in June.