SPRINGFIELD (AP) – A federal judge has allowed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s lawsuit over union fees paid by non-union workers to proceed – without the governor.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman declared Tuesday that Rauner does not have sufficient interest in the matter to file a lawsuit. But non-union state employees who were added to the suit later may press their case.

Rauner claimed in the lawsuit that so-called “fair share” fees by non-union workers violate the First Amendment. The fees cover costs associated with the requirement that unions represent non-members, too.

Gettleman rejected the First Amendment claim and ruled the three workers must prove they have a case.

Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly says the Republican is disappointed he can’t participate but is “greatly encouraged” that Gettleman didn’t dismiss the matter entirely.

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