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Illinois lawmaker vows not to accept potential payout from lawsuit over legislative pay

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Saturday, August 10, 2019  |  Article  |  By Jim Moran | The Center Square

Legislature (56) , Pay Raises Skillicorn, Allen--State House, 66
One Illinois lawmaker said he won’t accept any payout from a pending lawsuit filed by two former state Senators seeking back pay for cost-of-living pay increases that they had voted against receiving while in office.

State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, introduced a resolution that said he won’t share in any potential windfall from the lawsuit. He’s asking other lawmakers to do the same.

“If legislators accept this money – it shows a complete disregard for hard-working families who are struggling to make ends meet,” Skillicorn said.

A spokesperson for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton declined to comment on the issue

“Given the ongoing nature of the case we’re going to refrain from speculating about it," the spokesperson said.

Former State Sens. Michael Noland and James Clayborne filed the lawsuit to collect back pay. Skillicorn said he can’t get inside of the lawmaker’s heads to know exactly why the suit was filed. However, he said he thinks Noland is “just looking for a payday.”

“Even though he voted against pay raises, he wanted a windfall,” Skillicorn said.

Nolan, a Democrat from Elgin, served in the Illinois Senate from 2007 to 2017, he’s now a Circuit Court Judge in Kane County. Clayborne, from East St. Louis, also a Democrat, served in the Illinois Senate from 1995 until earlier this year.

The cost-of-living wage increases were suspended from 2009 to 2016. Skillicorn said that when the wage increases for lawmakers were frozen, the economy was “in shambles.”

The legal issue at question is whether the state legislature has the ability to withhold cost-of-living pay bumps. Skillicorn said, as lawmakers, “we fully have the power to set our own pay.” He said he was “flabbergasted” over the suit.

Skillicorn said the suit still faces challenges in court, and the issue could take months, if not years, to resolve.