On July 3, in Kanerva v. Weems, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of State’s retirees. The state challenged a 1992 amendment to the State Employees Group Insurance Act, requiring the state to pay, as a pension benefit, the health insurance premium for qualified retirees. The State argued that the rights were not protected under the Illinois State Constitution. The Illinois Supreme Court did, holding that the rights were protected per Article XIII, Section 5, which plainly states that “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”
The costs associated with Illinois’ retirement system is wreaking havoc with our state’s credit rating. However, it seems that with this ruling, the State will likely have to find another way of streamlining costs or another source of income.