Making a statement: These Illinois legislators are opting out of their pension plans

Kevin HoffmanReboot Illinois

Jul 08, 2014

While the pension reform law passed last December is held up in a Sangamon County court, a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision struck down an attempt to force government retirees to pay more for their subsidized state health insurance.

This ruling could have a major impact on the future of Illinois pension reform, the fate of which likely won’t be decided until next year.

In a Reboot Illinois op-ed this week, Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller noted:

“The Court, led by Justice Charles Freeman, did not specifically rule on the pension reform law, but declared ‘it is clear’ that all pension benefits, including health insurance, cannot be, as the Illinois Constitution mandates, ‘diminished or impaired,’ which the ruling called the ‘plain and ordinary’” meaning of the state’s Constitution.”

The pension protection clause in Article 13, Section 5 is at the heart of the problem and the underlying reason why it will be a difficult task to implement any meaningful pension reform.

“Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

However, some state senators and representatives hoping to make a clear statement have opted out of the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS), the pension fund for the state’s legislators.

Here’s the current list of both Republicans and Democrats who’ve decided not to participate:


If you are having trouble reading the above list, here is a plain-text version:

GARS – Legislators Not Participating:

State Rep. John Anthony (R-Plainfield)

State Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park)

State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake)

State Rep. John Cabello (R-Machesney Park)

State Rep. Katherine Cloonen (D-Kankakee)

State Sen. Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park)

State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville)

State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood)

State Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Charleston)

State Rep. Josh Harms (R-Watseka)

State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)

State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon)

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego)

State Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville)

State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)

State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-Aurora)

State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Cary)

State Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin)

State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield)

State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine)

State Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines)

State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-North Aurora)

State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove)

State Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) 

State Rep. Silvana Tabares (D-Chicago)

State Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison)


Do you think these lawmakers are doing the right thing, regardless the outcome of Illinois pension reform?

Next article: Will IL Supreme Court decision be major blow to pension reform?


  1. Truth in Accounting: Illinois budget tricks have hidden true cost of Kanerva v. Weems decision.
  2. If you don’t want your hard-earned money going to both pensions and taxpayer-funded salaries, use our Sound Off tool to tell your locals representatives retirement SHOULD MEAN retirement.
  3. Cartoon: Rewriting history with House Speaker Michael Madigan.
  4. Charting each state’s unfunded public pension liabilities.
  5. Holy Cow! Look at these top 25 highest Illinois government pensions. See for yourself how many on this list retired, began receiving their benefits, and then were rehired only to earn a taxpayer-funded salary.

[wufoo username=”rebootillinois” formhash=”z1s8drb0h9y16a” autoresize=”true” height=”380″ header=”show” ssl=”true”]

Related: Illinois remains in U.S. unemployment cellar
Oct 02, 2013

The August 2013 unemployment rate for Illinois remained at 9.2 percent. Illinois’ position in the national unemployment picture remained unchanged as well. [wufoo username=”rebootillinois” formhash=”z1s8drb0h9y16a” autoresize=”true” height=”380″ header=”show” ssl=”true”] Here…

share to facebook share to twitter comment
Be the first to respond to this quote.
Add a Comment commt