Should lawmakers approve paying back wages to state employees? The question is creating a divide in the Illinois House. A judge ordered the state to pay the back wages, raises from 2011 and 2012, but some members of the Illinois House are reluctant to approve spending that money because they didn’t negotiate the contract. “There’s some question as to whether the governor, in the process of a collective bargaining agreement, can bind the General Assembly to pay for whatever he negotiates,” said State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie).
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But State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) says that doesn’t matter – a deal is a deal. “Both sides signed that contract and they are owed those back wages and I think they ought to get paid,” said Phelps. “I think they deserve that money, they worked hard for it, and I think we ought to pay them.” The back wages for employees are among a number of supplemental budget bills proposed by the governor that could be voted on during the second week of the fall session Nov. 5-7.