Governor Pat Quinn signed a law today intended to keep a few union officials from collecting government employee pensions.
Illinois lawmakers passed the measure after reports that two lobbyists would have collected the same pensions that usually go to teachers and school administrators. The men were top officials with the Illinois Federation of Teachers. In order to qualify, all they had to do was substitute teach – for a single day.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross, pushed for the changes.
“It’s something that had to happen. We have seen a large number of abuses — in my opinion types of fraud — that were going on, and we needed to shut those doors so it does not continue,” Cross said.
It remains to be seen whether the people deprived of pensions will challenge the law in court. The Illinois Constitution has a provision that says state pension benefits “shall not be diminished or impaired.”
The law strips the teachers’ lobbyists of their pensions. It also prohibits the practice of pension “double dipping” in the future, following reports that Chicago union officials were also drawing city retirement benefits.