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Labor unions want expedited ruling in pensions lawsuit

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SPRINGFIELD, Illinois — A coalition of labor unions and state retirees is asking a judge for an expedited ruling in a case challenging the constitutionality of Illinois' pension law.

Attorneys filed the motion in Sangamon Circuit Court Thursday. They want Judge John Belz to factor in a Supreme Court decision that found health insurance premiums were a protected retirement benefit for state workers.

The groups say the same issue is central to their suit over the pension law, which increases employee contributions and reduces benefits. They say the law violates the state constitution, which says public employee benefits cannot be "diminished or impaired."

Lawmakers and state officials have said that Illinois' financial crisis is bad enough to warrant the plan despite the constitutional clause.

The parties will appear in court Sept. 4.

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