The state treasurer still believes the pension restructuring bill is unconstitutional. Dan Rutherford, a Republican candidate for governor, staked out his position before lawmakers approved the bill this week, and reiterated to Thursday at a news conference in Chicago: He says even though the measure reduces employee contributions by 1 percentage point, that doesn’t qualify as the type of “consideration” that would make the bill comply with the constitution, which prohibits pension benefits from being “diminished or impaired” without agreement from the beneficiaries.
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He believes that the consideration must be offered and accepted voluntarily, not be unilaterally imposed by the state. “If one doesn’t agree with what the Constitution says, then change the Constitution. But as long as it says what it says, then we need to uphold it,” he said. Rutherford didn’t say what should be done instead, what he thought of the bill notwithstanding the constitutional question, nor whether his office would file an amicus brief in the litigation that teachers and state employees are expected to file once the governor signs the bill into law.