A trade for better ethics? | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A trade for better ethics?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 6:33 AM

Rep. John Burris
  • Rep. John Burris
I've heard this morning from Rep. John Burris, the outgoing Republican House caucus leader, about developing ideas for an ethics package by the expanded GOP legislative contingent. He thinks some small items — travel reimbursement rules (to end roundabout road trips and, I'd hope, abuses by the likes of Mark Martin) and double-dipping by state employees are easily addressed. (Double-dipping has mostly already been addressed, actually, except for a relative handful of people in DROP programs.)

Burris is thinking in broader, even exciting, terms, too. Specifically: A constitutional amendment that would adopt the so-called Walmart rule on lobbying (lobbyists could give nothing of value to public officials, the same policy the giant retailer sets for dealing with vendors) but would also increase pay of elected officials, perhaps by doubling the roughly $15,000 legislators now receive.

My first thoughts weren't wholly laudatory. Legislators would be swapping free meals and drinks and the occasional golf junket for a 100 percent pay raise. It would appear to admit that legislators see tangible benefits in the perks they receive and believe they should receive something in return if they give them up. (The appearance is pretty much reality for some lawmakers.)

The proposal is somewhat akin to the last amendment that granted pay raises, with COLAs, to public officials. It included an end to "public relations accounts," an extralegal salary supplement for constitutional officers.

I agree that legislating has become nearly a full-time job. We now have annual sessions. I've always thought a case could be made for higher pay. It is probably true that voters might not go along with that prospect on an up-or-down basis without some givebacks. But there's a way to do it with more of a good government sheen.

The lobby rule could be adopted by statute. It would be a dramatic expression of good government if legislators would adopt that rule and THEN ask voters to increase their pay at the next election, not simply say they wouldn't do one without the other. (And don't forget that cooling-off period on becoming a lobbyist, Rep. Burris.)

That's my kneejerk reaction anyway. What's yours?

Democrats, will you play this worthy game, or hold on to business as usual?

Tags: , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (17)

Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Governor responds to Medicaid work rule lawsuit

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson has responded sharply to the lawsuit challenging the legality of the state's new work requirement for Medicaid coverage and also criticizing the online-only reporting requirement. His statement:
    • Aug 14, 2018
  • That Medicaid 'work' rule keeps on 'working'

    The latest numbers from the Department of Human Services show  thousands more people did not meet the reporting requirement on work hours in July to meet Medicaid eligibility standards.
    • Aug 14, 2018
  • LRSD school registration problems

    Vincent Tolliver, a candidate for Little Rock, mayor, has written legislators asking the Senate Education Committee to ask Education Commissioner Johnny Key to testify about problems encountered by parents on Monday, the first day of school in the state-run Little Rock School District.
    • Aug 14, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Latest Obamacare repeal bill would hit Arkansas treasury hard

    The latest effort to undo Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation, would shift federal support for health coverage to a block grant system to the states. Bad news for Arkansas.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017

Most Viewed

  • Who knew? George Soros has targeted Arkansas!

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge regularly bends the truth to suit her narrative of the day, but she gets extra credit for dragging George Soros into her re-election campaign.
  • Asa Hutchinson, French Hill dodge TV debates

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson and 2nd District U.S. Rep. French Hill have refused to participate in TV debates scheduled in September.
  • LRSD school registration problems

    Vincent Tolliver, a candidate for Little Rock, mayor, has written legislators asking the Senate Education Committee to ask Education Commissioner Johnny Key to testify about problems encountered by parents on Monday, the first day of school in the state-run Little Rock School District.
  • Lawsuit challenges Arkansas's Medicaid work rule

    A lawsuit was filed today in the federal court for the District of Columbia challenging Arkansas's work requirement for many Medicaid recipients.
  • Rep. John Lewis coming to LR Sunday for Clarke Tucker campaign

    Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights legend, will visit Little Rock Sunday afternoon for a fund-raiser for state Rep. Clarke Tucker, the Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress against Republican Rep. French Hill.

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation