SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A ruling on whether Illinois' pension overhaul law is constitutional could be delayed until next year.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports Friday that a Sangamon County circuit judge wants to consider all of the issues raised in multiple lawsuits. Judge Jon Belz ruled Thursday that handling it differently could lead to piecemeal rulings and actually prolong a resolution.

Lawyers for state retiree groups wanted the judge to answer whether the law increasing contributions by workers and decreasing their benefits violates the state Constitution. One lawyer, Aaron Maduff, says a favorable ruling on that threshold issue would have made the rest of the suit moot.

The schedule Belz laid out for arguments and responses in the lawsuits stretches the case into December.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.