Illinois social service providers appeal lawsuit dismissal

CHICAGO (AP) – Social service providers are appealing a judge’s dismissal of their lawsuit asking the court to force payment on contracts with the state of Illinois.

The Pay Now Illinois coalition said Thursday morning that it intends to appeal Cook County Judge Rodolfo Garcia’s Aug. 31 ruling to an Illinois appeals court. Garcia says the issue belongs in a higher court.

The coalition includes nearly 100 social service providers. The group sued in May over fallout from the state’s budget stalemate. They argue the state breached its service contracts and they are owed roughly $160 million collectively for services, including health care and programs to fight homelessness.

The lawsuit named Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who’s been deadlocked on a full year budget with the Democratic-controlled Legislature, and the heads of state agencies.