Attorneys in social service providers lawsuit argue appeal

CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for social service providers suing Illinois over lack of payment during the budget impasse have presented oral arguments before an appeals court. The Pay Now Illinois coalition sued last year in Cook County seeking to force the state to honor contracts during the two-year stalemate. However, a Cook County judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying it belonged in a higher court. Attorneys for the coalition and attorney general’s office appeared Thursday before the Illinois Appellate Court. The judges didn’t indicate when they’d rule. The coalition argues there’s been a “breakdown of constitutional government” and social service providers are being held hostage in the disagreement between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Legislature. Attorneys for the state dismissed their arguments. A similar lawsuit has been filed in St. Clair County.