Judge: Quinn Can't Withhold Lawmaker Pay Over Pensions

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Senate President John Cullerton says now that a judge has ruled Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of legislators' salaries was unconstitutional, lawmakers can "put aside all distractions" and focus on pension reform.

Quinn vetoed money for paychecks from the state budget in July because lawmakers hadn't fixed Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension problem.

Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan sued, saying Quinn's action was unconstitutional.

On Thursday Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen agreed. He ordered the Chicago Democrat to reinstate lawmakers' pay immediately.

In a statement Cullerton says the ruling preserves the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. The Chicago Democrat also says pension reform remains a top priority and that lawmakers have continued to work on the issue.

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