A group of voters is challenging the validity of a measure on this fall's ballot that would make it more difficult to improve retirement benefits for public employees.
In a statement Thursday, Republican state Senate candidate John Bambenek, of Champaign, said he and 10 other Illinois residents filed a lawsuit arguing the question is unconstitutional.
Since late last year, almost a quarter of Illinois state park superintendents have retired, taking with them in many cases 30 or more years of experience that will be hard to replace. The loss of that institutional knowledge is one more cost of the state's deep financial crisis. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is among state agencies hit hard by years of budget cuts.
Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Guy Stephens and Brian Mackey was used in this report.
Longtime state employees would no longer be able get free health insurance when they retire under legislation approved by the Illinois House today.
The vote is part of a push to cut pension benefits for government retirees. The governor, House speaker and other officials want to save money by cutting pensions, health care and other costs.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross says it's the first of many difficult votes to come.
St. Louis Public Radio is a service of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.