Judge rules Illinois can’t pay state workers in full without state budget

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CHICAGO — A Cook County judge has ruled Illinois may not continue to pay state workers in full during an ongoing budget impasse.

Judge Diane Joan Larsen ruled Tuesday that Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger may pay only some workers who are covered under a federal law. Those workers would receive federal minimum wage plus overtime.

But attorneys for Munger say it would take the state as long as a year to determine which employees would be paid under federal law and how much.

They say that effectively means no workers will be paid until Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature approve a budget.

A representative for Gov. Rauner issued a statement saying the governor believes state workers should be paid in full. The statement read,

"[Rauner] has asked CMS, the Department of Central Management Services, to explore all of its legal options, including seeking and expedited appeal of this order or other emergency relief to ensure that employees are paid and critical state services are not disrupted. "

The court ruling would not affect payments to services for children in foster care, low income families who can’t buy groceries and mentally and physically challenged people who need residential support.

The ruling could impact 25,000 personal health care assistants who care for people in their homes. Right now those workers make $13 an hour.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan had asked the judge to clarify what state government is obligated to pay without an approved budget for the fiscal year that started July 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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