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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court has ordered that four lawsuits challenging Illinois' new pension reform law be consolidated.
 
The March 3 order transfers the case filed by a group of retired teachers in Cook County Circuit Court to Sangamon County Circuit Court, where the three other cases were filed. The court says all of the cases will be heard together in Springfield.
   
Each of the groups' lawsuits share the common claim that the new pension reform plan violates the state constitution, which says benefits may not be diminished or impaired.
 
Illinois' five public-retirement systems had a $100 billion unfunded liability when the Legislature passed the pension reform measure in December.
 
The bill saves an estimated $145 billion, largely by cutting benefits for employees and retirees.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Chicago man has been convicted of several federal charges for forcing two teenage girls into prostitution.
Reginald Williams was convicted Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis following a four-day trial.
Police in Collinsville, Ill., learned in September 2012 that photos of a missing 16-year-old were included on the website backpage.com, implying she was available for sex. The website said the girl was 20 but police confirmed she was 16 at the time.
Authorities learned another minor female was believed to be with the 16-year-old at a St. Louis County hotel. Williams was arrested at the hotel, where police found both girls.   Sentencing for Williams is May 30.
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A 21-year-old Raytown man is dead after he was reportedly shot by a St. Charles County deputy while threatening suicide and displaying a gun.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Anthony Kovac died Saturday night. He was in the St. Louis area visiting his grandparents.
Sheriff Lt. Dave Tiefenbrunn says four deputies found Kovac in a rear bedroom and asked him to leave the room. The lieutenant says Kovac was shot when he raised a gun and pointed it toward one of the deputies.
 
Authorities say the victim was intoxicated and had threatened to kill himself. The unnamed deputy is on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
 

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