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State Supreme Court Rules In Favor of State Employees

Updated: Tuesday, July 8 2014, 04:25 PM CDT

ILLINOIS -- Today, state retirees are celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling, counting this as the first win of what they hope are many.

When Darlene Edwards heard the General Assembly passed a law in 2012 requiring state retiree's to contribute to their healthcare premiums, it wasn't something she expected.She thought the state would honor the promise made when she retired.

"It felt like the bottom had fallen out of everything. Bye-bye to all the things that we wanted or needed because healthcare is paramount to the elderly," said Edwards, retired Department of Public Health Worker.

After the law passed the state took one percent of monthly pension checks for healthcare costs and that percentage was slated to increase to two percent this month. It was something that those who had retired didn't plan for.

"The state was trying to say, we didn't really mean that," said Bruce Strom, president of the Retired State Employees Association. "We don't really think we want to pay you for what we said we would pay you even though you provided your services for many many years with that expectation."

"You go to garage sales instead of going to stores, watching what we had for our food, groceries had gone up, the things I was use to having, no more," Edwards said.

Those who have been a part of the battle know there is still a long road ahead, but today's decision is cause for celebration.

"I could jump up and down you know," Edwards said. "Hallelujah, the Supreme Court has really begun to look at our problems and to start taking some action that we have been waiting for. We're very happy."

"It means that the retirees won't be touched," said Rudy J. Kink Jr., executive director of the Illinois State Employees Association. "They're not going to be a part of their fiscal cuts that they have to make, it's not going to be at the expense of the retirees."

The money retiree's have been contributing to their healthcare has actually been kept in a separate state fund as part of the lawsuit.

So now it's up to the lower courts to decide how they're going to implement this decision.

Supporters are hoping they can refund that money as soon as possible.

State Supreme Court Rules In Favor of State Employees

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