A federal judge on Tuesday opted against holding the state of Illinois in contempt over disability service payments.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman noted that "every attempt has been made to try to cooperate" on the issue of getting court-ordered payments to disability service providers in the state during the budget impasse.
Attorneys for Illinoisans with disabilities filed an emergency motion last week, calling for the state to be held in contempt of court after it failed to make court-ordered payments to service providers by deadline. Since then, the state has been "making a good-faith effort" on the payment issue, an attroney for the plaintiffs said in court today.
Coleman added that her decision against holding the state in contempt will let payment processing move ahead "without that hammer hanging over your head for now."
In response to the judge's ruling, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger issued the following statement:
I am grateful to the Court for recognizing that our office has done, and will continue to do, everything in its power to ensure that the state's budget shortfall does not impact payment for services for people with developmental disabilities."
Since being sworn into office eight months ago, I have made payments for those serving our most vulnerable my top priority. Long before I assumed public office, I spent years volunteering for an organization serving the intellectually and developmentally disabled - and I saw firsthand the pain that is caused when the state does not meet its obligations in a timely fashion. As the state's Chief Fiscal Officer, I have made it my mission to ensure that other organizations do not face similar hardship.
I have traveled the state meeting with nonprofit and social service providers in recent months, and whether I'm in Rockford or East St. Louis, the message is the same: to truly bring relief to those serving our most vulnerable, Illinois must pass a balanced budget.