Former Gov Edgar Talks About Lawmaker Salary Lawsuit
Updated: Thursday, September 19 2013, 12:13 PM CDT
House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, and Governor Pat Quinn were all in a Chicago courtroom on Wednesday.
The two sides presented their arguments in a lawsuit filed by the legislative leaders over their salries.
Quinn vetoed the salaries this summer after lawmakers failed to advance a pension reform bill by a deadline set by the governor.
It's nothing new for lawmakers to not agree with their governor, but this is the first time it cost one side their paychecks.
"First of all I can appreciate his frustration with the legislature," says former Governor Jim Edgar, "I think every governor gets frustrated with the legislature, and I'm sure every legislature gets frustrated with the governor, and there were times I probably wanted to strangle them, but I don't think I would have done what he did."
Edgar believes the real disagreement was between Quinn and legislative leaders, but rank and file lawmakers were affected as well.
"I can think back when I was a freshman legislator," says Edgar, "I was in the minority, I didn't have any influence or power, and we lived from paycheck to paycheck."
Edgar tells us quinn's move could set a dangerous precedent for the future, with governors and general assemblies blocking each others' pay over disagreements.
"Some future governor might do it," says Edgar, "and he might do it in a way that's even more damaging or disruptive than this was."
When House Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton filed their lawsuit to get their paychecks back, they said it was to stop the precedent, and maintain the separation of powers between branches of government.
Local lawmakers tell us they just want to get past this.
"Soes this get us closer to a solution, in this case the pension problem we face, or does it get us further away?", asks Democratic Senator Andy Manar, "And unfortunately, I think judging now after several weeks that the governor's actions, in regards to legislator pay, gets us further away from a solution."
"I just hope, that we wouldn't want to do that from now on, start governing by vetoes and court cases," says Republican Representative Raymond Poe, "I just don't think that's something that ought to be involved in the process."
Governor has also vowed not to accept his own paycheck until he signs a pension reform bill into law.
Quinn has also stated that lawmakers have his blessing to override his veto once they send him that bill.
We reached out for a comment from Quinn on the hearing, and have not received anything yet.
Reporting in Springfield, Mike Brooks NewsChannel20.