CHICAGO — The Illinois Supreme Court agreed Thursday to hear a direct appeal of a Circuit Court decision leaving intact a state overhaul of retiree health care benefits after concluding constitutional protections afforded to pension benefits don't extend to the health care perk.

Both the Illinois attorney general's office and the plaintiffs in a series of complaints challenging the law agreed to ask the state's high court to directly hear the appeal of Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Steven Nardulli's decision handed down last month.

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