A court ruling says state workers can't be paid their full salaries as long there's no state budget. The argument from the Attorney General's office was under federal law, only certain workers are entitled to being paid the federal minimum wage plus overtime during this budget impasse.
Comptroller's office lawyers argued the state doesn't have a system in place to figure out which workers will be paid and which won't, so the safest option was pay all workers in full, but Cook County judge Diane Joan Larsen sided with the Attorney General.
AG spokeswoman Natalie Bauer says the ruling focused on the law, not the feasibility of finding which workers can and can't be paid.
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"There must be a budget in place in order to comply with the constitution," Bauer said. "This is an issue of the constitution as opposed to logistical questions.
The comptroller's office based its position on what happened during the 2007 budget impasse, when a court order allowed the state to pay all workers in full. Assistant Attorney General Brett Legner argued in court that this situation was different as there's no indication a budget agreement is imminent.
In ruling against the comptroller's office, Larsen said the state knew in 2007 that it needed to find a way to comply with the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) should this situation arise again. The same problems still exist eight years later, though Comptroller Leslie Munger says her office is working on upgrading state accounting systems.
An appeal is already in the works.
“The governor believes state workers should be paid in full," said Lance Trover, spokesman for Gov. Bruce Rauner. "He has asked CMS to explore all of its legal options, including seeking an expedited appeal of this order or other emergency relief to ensure that employees are paid and critical state services are not disrupted.”