Dock Legislators a Day's Pay for Skipping Floor Votes? Jerry Weiers Likes the Idea

Arizona legislators played hooky from their legislative responsibilities at a troubling rate this year, and Representative Jerry Weiers is pissed. In response, he has proposed legislation that would dock legislators a day's pay if they have an unexcused absence during a floor vote.

However, we can think of a few legislators who should be paid not to show up for floor votes (Russell Pearce, we're looking in your direction).

Weiers introduced HB 2019 a few weeks ago to penalize legislators the day's pay (roughly $175) for the unexcused absence during a floor vote, but that's not all. Weiers included a sort of scarlet-letter provision to the bill that could hit legislators somewhere other than their wallets.

On top of not getting paid, Weiers proposes putting the name of each legislator with an unexcused absence on the Legislature's Web site so constituents can see if their representative's pullin' a Ferris Bueller on them.

"If you don't vote, you're not representing your district," Weiers told the House Government Committee a few weeks ago. "If you're not representing your district, why are you getting paid?"

The proposed legislation may be in response to a Cronkite News Service report, which found that 21 of Arizona's state legislators missed at least 20 percent of the Legislature's floor votes this past year.

Democratic Representative Chad Campbell opposed the bill when it went to a committee vote, saying it could lead to a one-size-fits-all approach to legislating.

"We should not be telling our members how to do their job," he tells CNS. "Where does that stop?"

Nobody's telling anyone how to do their job, Chad, they're just asking that you show up for it.

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James King
Contact: James King