Two fairly recent legislative pay raises in Kentucky have been a little unusual. Switching to annual sessions in 2001 simply gave lawmakers more paydays. Sweetening their pensions in 2005 has allowed a growing number of legislators to game the system by switching to jobs in the judicial or executive branches of government and receiving unearned retirement benefits.
It’s time for another bite of this apple. But here is the twist: we already pay House and Senate members to sit around and do nothing the first month of election years (despite one recent effort to fix this). Why not just give them less to do? If we remove some of the heavy lifting — which they are hesitant to do anyway — and pay them the same, that would be like paying them more, wouldn’t it? And it just might lead to better government in the state.
What I’m talking about is amending the state constitution to allow for voter-driven ballot initiatives. For things like Certificate of Need repeal, prevailing wage repeal, Right to Work, meaningful education reform, and serious pension reforms that too many politicians are too afraid to touch anyway, why don’t we empower the people to work around them to get the job done?