The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

6 February 2006

Such an expensive legislature

Mike's view from Little Axe:

The idea of streamlining bloated state legislatures is not new. More than one person has looked at Nebraska's legislature made up of 49 legislators, total, and wondered why a state like Oklahoma needs one hundred more than that.

Of course, Nebraska has a single legislative body: the other states have two, following the pattern established in the national Constitution.

There's no reason why it couldn't be done here, though. Mike cites this Muskogee Phoenix op-ed:

My vote would be to excise representatives, but call our senators "representatives." This is to punish senators for their disdainful attitude that being a representative is an inferior position.

They actually have about the same responsibilities, but I have it from a reliable source that senators carry on as if they are better than your common representative.

Myself, I'm persuaded that the attitude is more of an annoyance than the numbers, which is why I rather like the New Hampshire layout: twenty-two senators and four hundred representatives, none of whom get paid enough to make a career of it. (Annual pay, per the state constitution, is $100, with an extra $25 for presiding officers; subsequent amendments have introduced a mileage allowance, but the pay remains what it was in 1784.) At this level, it's hard to look down your nose at anyone.

Posted at 10:56 AM to Soonerland