Isn’t Kentucky privileged? We have, working for us in Frankfort, some of the most dedicated elected officials one could find.
At least they’re dedicated to University of Kentucky basketball.
Senate President David Williams took a day off from legislating to attend an out-of-state UK basketball game, and the Senate almost didn’t have enough members show up to produce a quorum on that day.
Perhaps some of the others who didn’t show up for work simply decided to stay home and watch the game on TV, or maybe they clandestinely went to the game themselves.
Then, in the Final Four, played in New Orleans, Gov. Steve Beshear flew in a state airplane to view the game in person. Of course, it has been stated that the Democratic Party will pay for the trip, not the Kentucky taxpayer. But if you were a contributor to the Democratic Party (or the Republican or Independent or Libertarian, etc.) would you be happy knowing that your contribution, allegedly made to support your party’s candidate in a run for office, was in fact going to pay for him or her to attend a sporting event when they should have been working?
One can only wonder if this occurrence would be so casually dismissed if the governor had decided to attend a boxing match in Las Vegas or a soccer game in Argentina. Or is it simply a matter of the importance of basketball in this state and “rooting for the home team?” The question here is not why the governor and lieutenant-governor and senator chose to absent themselves from their duties, or the manner in which they reached their destinations. The question is: Why do we subsidize these absences?
The salaries of these elected officials are set, unaffected by their absences.
If someone working for a private company or business decided he or she wanted to attend a sporting event on one of their standard workdays, their employers or superiors would either dismiss them or, at the very least, require them to forfeit a day’s wages or a day’s vacation. But we cannot ask that of our politicians for they are too privileged and they and their cohorts within the establishment will always see to it that nothing gets in the way of maintaining that privilege.
The number of days that the Kentucky legislature meets each year is set by statute, and the ending date of each year established. Those ending dates cannot be changed except by amending the constitution, so if the legislature cannot produce a quorum for a day’s business, there is no procedure to add that day to the legislative calendar to make up for its collective malfeasance.
In the past, the Kentucky legislature has finagled the final working day (it usually had to because it would consistently waste most of the beginning days of the session on trivial and useless issues such as designating the state vegetable or naming a highway after someone) by “stopping the clock,” a practice the state supreme court ruled unlawful.
When Kentucky voters chose to allow annual sessions of the legislature, alternating between 30 days and 60 days, many realized the change was nothing more than a license to fritter away more time, doing nothing and getting paid for it.
So, if you elected officials cannot control your urges to spirit away for sporting events while ignoring your duties to the people of Kentucky who elected you, GO HOME! It is obvious that you have not come to the realization that election to public office is a privilege and honor and requires a dedication nearly as great as that of our military personnel who go into harm’s way. Until you visualize your duty that way, you are not worthy of a public office or the confidence of the people.
And if you cannot pass a budget as you are obligated to do under the constitution, expect to stay in Frankfort — unpaid — until you do so. The people are tired of the inattention to the affairs of state.