Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Part Time Job Forever

Posted by Adam Graham on April 14, 2009

The Idaho Statesman’s Dan Popkey has a piece on legislator’s plans being disrupted by the length of this session which will become the second longest on record as of this Friday.

One of the more ironic parts of the piece is that Dick Sagness who is only filling in for Senator Edward Malepeai (D-28). So did the fill-in Senator consider designating a fill-in for him?

Writes Chris at the Unequivocal Notion:

“Idaho’s part-time Legislature isn’t even capable of showing up for their part time work, but they sure don’t mind collecting their per diem when they bail on Idahoans and go on vacation mid-session. Unfortunately, Idaho Democrats are just as guilty as the Republicans.  Here’s an idea, if you can’t be there, then don’t run for office.”

I understand the sentiment and to a degree I share it. Certainly,  Idaho legislators shouldn’t go gallavanting off at will, but I think that to be fair, this is a part-time job that legislators legitimately expected to end two weeks ago. How much of their calendar should legislators have to clear? The whole month of April? In most years, that would be overkill.  I think no one expected that anyone would want to continue to meet in the Old Ada County Courthouse for this long. The accomodations are awful.

Most Legislators are making a huge sacrifice to be in session at all. They spend months campaigning for a job that pays $16,000 a year plus per Diem. They expect three month long sessions and then done so they can return home, relax, and earn money to support their legislating habit. Is there a solution? I think the ultimate answer is to require legislators to stay in session,  but have the law reimburse them for cancellation fees at hotels and on airlines for events that occur after April 8th. Of course, this type of solution won’t be implemented because it could be played to the political detriment of legislators and its not populist enough to make it a s a citizen’s initiative.

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