- Associated Press - Monday, July 13, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office filed an emergency appeal Monday with the Illinois Supreme Court to settle dueling court orders about whether state employees can get paid during the budget impasse.

The motion asks for direct and expedited intervention over both lower courts due to “great public importance raising constitutional questions that affect the core of the government’s operation.”

The Democratic-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner haven’t agreed on a spending plan for the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

A Cook County judge said last week only some state employees covered by federal minimum wage law could get paid, but the action was put on hold. Days later, in a separate case downstate brought by unions, a St. Clair County judge ruled state workers can receive their entire paychecks without spending authority from the state.

Comptroller Leslie Munger said earlier Monday that her office completed processing paychecks due Wednesday, meaning about 6,800 employees would be paid on time. Her office didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the appeal.

Madigan’s office said Monday that the Illinois Constitution clearly specifies that the state can’t pay all employees without a budget in place.

“The Court can provide important guidance on what the Constitution allows when the Governor and Legislature have failed to act,” Madigan spokeswoman Natalie Bauer Luce said in a statement. “Ultimately, as we have repeatedly said, the only way to fully resolve this unfortunate and damaging situation is for the Governor and the Legislature to do their jobs and enact a budget.”

Madigan’s office also took next steps in the lower court cases, including a notice to appeal in St. Clair County.

State lawmakers are set to gather in overtime session later this week, though there’s been little progress on approving a spending plan. Legislative Democrats sent Rauner a plan they acknowledged was billions short on what was needed to cover expenses with the hopes that he’d support new taxes. However, Rauner vetoed most of the budget, saying the state can’t live beyond its means and lawmakers should first consider his reform agenda.


Follow Sophia Tareen at https://twitter.com/sophiatareen.

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