I’ve been reading with interest letters and articles regarding state legislators accepting free meals from lobbyists. Recent related restrictions imposed by the Legislative Ethics Board do not go far enough. In my opinion, legislators should be required to abide by the same regulations imposed on state employees.
I worked for the state for 35 years in information technology. Over those years, I never accepted a free meal from a vendor except when provided at a conference which is permitted by state rule and law. When I accepted a conference provided meal, I was required to decline the state per diem for that meal. In other words, I could not double dip.
I had to laugh at Sen. Linda Evans Parlette’s statements justifying free meals because “working dinners are useful.” Just because she has to cough up part of her $120 per diem to pay for her share of a meal should not make the occasion any less useful. Her attempt to justify accepting free meals because legislators don’t get paid enough and she is “losing money” serving as a legislator is shameful.
If her role as a legislator is just a job, she should look for another one that pays better.If compensation is the problem, perhaps we should reduce the number of legislators by eliminating the House or Senate or the number of legislators in both legislative bodies. That would provide additional funding for salary increases for the remaining legislators. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.