By Hillary Gowins
Illinois is on month six with no budget, but now it’s at least set to pay out lottery winnings – something the state hasn’t done for almost two months for winnings worth more than $600.
Officials will process new claims beginning Dec. 14, according to NBC Chicago.
Because of the state’s failure to pass a balanced budget, some lottery payouts have been stalled since July 1.
“The lottery is a state agency like many others, and we’re obviously affected by the budget situation,” Illinois Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi said to the Chicago Tribune in August. “Since the legal authority is not there for the comptroller to disburse payments, those payments are delayed.”
Since Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Senate Bill 2039 on Dec. 7, $3.1 billion is available to not only fund payments to lottery winners, but also local governments, highway departments and domestic violence shelters, among others.
Illinois is holding upward of $80 million in lottery winnings – that’s what Tom Zimmerman, the attorney representing Illinoisans who have not yet received their winnings in a lawsuit against the state, shared with radio reporter Greg Bishop.
“Zimmerman said a federal judge entered an order [Dec. 2] that tells the state to segregate winnings and interest on those winnings in a separate fund to ensure the funds aren’t used elsewhere,” according to Bishop.
Zimmerman has two clients: One with a winning ticket worth $50,000 and another winner with a ticket worth $250,000, filed a lawsuit Sept. 9 seeking to stop Illinois from selling tickets for winnings it can’t pay out, according to The Wall Street Journal.