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Mini Briefing 11.20.2014 – Pension Lawsuit Update

SUAA Mini Briefing
November 20, 2014

Pension Lawsuit Update

The briefs have been filed and the arguments made. Tomorrow the Court will rule. An opinion is expected to be released at 2:00.

The State’s theme was that when the fire alarm goes off, it has the right to exercise its sovereign power (police power) to protect the people. It believes that the financial fire alarm has been sounded and it must act to diminish pensions in order to protect the financial health of Illinois. In response SUAA reaches back to the views of the Illinois Supreme Court during the great depression. In 1935, in Lyle v. City of Chicago¸ it stated that “Neither the legislature or any executive or judicial officer may disregard the provisions of the Constitution even in case of great emergency.”

Because there are differences between SURS and other pension systems, SUAA is particularly concerned about certain portions of Public Act 98-599 which do not represent threats to the pensions of many non SURS members. Unfortunately, those differences are extraordinarily complicated and are very difficult to present in simple terms. Nonetheless, they did compel SUAA to file a Motion for Injunctive Relief last May 2, to relieve the pressure on SURS members to take early retirement to preserve their pensions. The Unions followed with a similar motion May 14, but the other Plaintiffs groups did not feel it necessary.

While certain provisions of Public Act 98-599 are clearly unconstitutional, other provisions are more difficult to analyze. Included among those are provisions that specifically target SURS members. SUAA is cautiously optimistic that the Court recognizes numerous unconstitutional provisions in Public Act 98-599, but given the immense complexities of the law and the pensions, there is no guarantee that the Court is able to easily identify all of them. The plaintiffs groups are therefore concerned that nothing be missed. As a result, we at SUAA have focused our efforts on ensuring that the Court strikes down the entire Act rather than severing particular pieces from it.

We are grateful for the tireless efforts of our legal team to recognize issues of importance to SURS members and their constant guard against letting those issues fall to the wayside in the course of this very complex litigation. We all look forward to the Court’s ruling tomorrow with the hope and optimism that the Court will finally strike the law and make permanent the temporary injunction imposed against the law last May.

Linda L. Brookhart
Executive Director

State Universities Annuitants Association

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Change in Membership Dues

November 18, 2014

Dear SUAA Member:

On behalf of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors this letter is being sent to alert you to a change in your State membership dues.

At the Fall Board of Directors Meeting held in Normal, Illinois on October 29th, the Board overwhelmingly voted to increase the State dues by $2.00 beginning January 1, 2015. This is actuallyjust 17cents per month to each member.

Our mission stays the same – to protect your benefits! On January 1, 2015, for those of you who are retired, the Automatic Annual Increase of 3% will still be there for you! For those of who are currently working, you did not have to contribute an additional 1% of your salary to the pension system beginning this past July 1, 2014. The lawsuit continues; soon it will move to the Supreme Court.

As we work to be even more involved with legislative activities, policymakers and other esteemed organizations, our demands are increased. Our budget is affected. Advocacy needs heighten.

We have also found that our current software does not easily keep up with the changes in the companies we do business with – from email to such entities as PayPal. Our own database updates cannot be uploaded due to our outdated software program and a server that has been declared too small for our needs. The list goes on . . .

We are still looking for ways to communicate better to those of you who do not have access to emails. Postal mailing does not allow the Association to adequately reach you – time becomes the enemy as well as the cost for mailing. Therefore, if you have access to an email address please share it with us.

SUAA has been quite vigilant on your behalf, especially this past year. Currently, as you know, a lawsuit was filed on your behalf – both for currently employed and those who are retired. We hope you understand and will continue to support the work that is being done on your behalf to preserve your pension and health benefits.

As of January 1, 2015 the following will move forward:

  • The State dues increase will be $2.00 to all members.
  • For those on pension deduction from SURS, the amount will now be an additional $.17 per month.
  • For those on payroll deduction from your campuses, the amount will now be an additional $.17 per month.
  • For those of you who are paying by check or credit card for the yearly amount, the $2.00 will be due on
    your anniversary date.
  • Chapters could decide to increase their dues at this time also. Chapters will be making those decisions soon.
    Therefore, the dues increase at this time will be $2.00 per year for the State organization only.

We believe that the cost for your individual membership is still quite low. We remain confident that you will continue to provide support to SUAA. If you have questions relating to SUAA budgetary needs, please feel free to contact the State Office.

Sincerely,
Linda L. Brookhart
Executive Director
State Universities Annuitants Association

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

GSU SUAA Meeting Announcement

Hello GSU SUAA Members,

A reminder: the chapter meets on the third Thursday of the month in the GSU cafeteria.
All are welcome to attend.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

SUAA Mini Briefing 11.05.2014

SUAA Mini Briefing
November 5, 2014
Each Election Brings Winners and Losers . . .

Yesterday’s General Election results will no doubt bring changes to both Springfield and Chicago. Most assuredly those changes will keep us on our toes as appointed positions will bring new faces and the familiar ones will move on. The media is chock full of all kinds of information both nationally and statewide. So if you have not read or heard enough yet today, here is an additional resource for you.

To begin, the 99th General Assembly in January 2015 will be Republican Bruce Rauner as the newly elected Governor of the State of Illinois. Reading his "BRING BACK BLUEPRINT Education Reform" might provide you an indication of where he is headed (including higher education).

A quick read from Rauner’s website regarding pensions states that "We must keep our promise to current retirees, but we put all government workers at risk by continuing to promise a pension no one can afford." He further states "We must boldly reform our pension system. To do that, we can:

  • Ensure pay and benefits do not rise faster than the rate of inflation.
  • Eliminate the ability of government employees to receive massive pay raises before they retire just to increase their pension.
  • Cap the current system and move towards a defined contribution system."

Moving on -

U.S. Senate will continue with Democrat Richard Durbin; Republican Jim Oberweis will be back in the State Senate.

U.S. House: new

District 1 (D) Bobby Rush
District 2 (D) Robin Kelly
District 3 (D) Daniel Lipinski

District 4 (D) Luis Gutierrez

District 5 (D) Mike Quigley

District 6 (R) Peter Roskam

District 7 (D) Danny Davis

District 8 (D) Tammy Duckworth

District 9 (D) Janice Schakowsky

District 10 (R) Robert Dold

District 11 (D) Bill Foster

District 12 (R) Mike Bost

District 13 (R) Rodney Davis

District 14 (R) Randy Hultgren

District 15 (R) John Shimkus

District 16 (R) Adam Kinzinger

District 17 (D) Cheri Bustos

District 18 (R) Aaron Schock

Democrat Lisa Madigan will continue as Attorney General

Democrat Jesse White will continue as Secretary of State.

Republican Judy Baar Topinka will continue to serve as Comptroller.

Republican Tom Cross will serve in his new capacity as Treasurer; Democrat Mike Frerichs will return to his seat in the State Senate.

State Senate (only 7 contested races out of 19 seats up for re-election):

District 6 (D) John Cullerton

District 18 (D) Bill Cunningham

District 24 (R) Chris Nybo (was appointed to Senate to replace Kirk Dillard)

District 30 (D) Terry Link

District 36 (R) Neil Anderson (leaving is Mike Jacobs)

District 48 (D) Andy Manar

District 57 (D) James Clayborne

State House of Representatives (new faces only as all seats were up for re-election; 70 seats had no opposition):

District 10 (D) Pamela Reaves-Harris (Derrick Smith (D)
District 37 (R) Margo McDermed (Renee Kosel (R)

District 39 (D) Will Guzzardi (Maria Antonia Berrios (D)

District 41 (R) Grant Wehrili (Darlene Senger (R)

District 45 (R) Christine Winger (Dennis Reboletti (R)

District 48 (R) Peter Breen (Sandra Pihos (R)

District 50 (R) Keith Wheeler (Kay Hatcher (R)

District 65 (R) Steven Andersson (Timothy Schmitz (R)

District 94 (R) Randy Frese (Jill Tracy (R)

District 97 (R) Mark Batinick (Tom Cross (R)

District 103 (D) Carol Ammons (Naomi Jakobsson (D)

District 106 (R) Thomas Bennett (Josh Harms (R)

District 110 (R) Reggie Phillips (Brad Halbrook (R)

District 115 (R) Terri Bryant (Mike Bost (R)

Most likely a few contests will be contested.

Linda L. Brookhart
Executive Director
State Universities Annuitants Association

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Notes from GSU SUAA’s October 16, 2014 Meeting

Use the link below to download and view notes from GSU SUAA’s October 2014 meeting.

GSU SUAA 10-16-14 meeting notes (pdf file format)

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2014 in GSU SUAA, Meetings

 

Next Meeting of the GSU Chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA)

Join us for the next meeting of GSU SUAA!

GSU Cafeteria

Thursday, October 16

12 o’clock noon

ALL ARE WELCOME!

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Register for 2014 SUAA Fall Board Meeting

2014 SUAA Fall Board Meeting

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Illinois State University Alumni Center
1101 North Main Street Normal, IL

*Please Submit Registrations by Wednesday, October 22, 2014*

Click Here to Register

Additional information and agenda will be available next week.

Linda L. Brookhart
Executive Director
SUAA

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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