Judge declines to hold Illinois in contempt on payments

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CHICAGO (AP) A U.S. judge has cited Illinois’ efforts in recent days to make court-ordered payments to social-service providers in deciding not to hold the state in contempt.

Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled at a Tuesday hearing in Chicago focused on services for the disabled. Coleman raised the prospect of a contempt finding last week after Illinois missed a deadline for certain payments as the state budget standoff continues.

A plaintiffs’ attorney, Barry Taylor, told Coleman that Illinois is now “making a good-faith effort.” But he and other attorneys also said court pressure had worked.

Coleman says she’ll entertain another contempt motion if the state falters again on payments.

State lawyers said in a Friday filing they face competing legal obligations. They said meeting payment deadlines shouldn’t mean “doing the impossible.”