Tony Cornish, the colorful Republican representative/lawman from Good Thunder, announced this morning that he’s going to present a bill that would prevent legislators from collecting pay, or from receiving the state portion of benefits, such as health insurance, during a shutdown.
Of course, at the moment, since there’s no legislative session in which to present the bill, there’s nothing for Cornish to do but announce it.
But in announcing that he’s going to have a bill, Cornish made two indirect points:
• Nothing is making Minnesotans more disgusted than the idea that state elected officials can receive pay — and benefits — in the midst of this shutdown that has laid off more than 20,000 state employees.
• Cornish is placing some of the blame for the shutdown on the Legislature. Most Republicans have been trying to point all their fingers at Gov. Mark Dayton as the cause of the shutdown.
As for Point 1, Cornish said his bill is a response to the large number of emails he’s receiving from constituents regarding legislative pay.
Although large numbers of legislators have said they are turning down their pay, not mentioned is whether the state is still paying its portion of the cost of health insurance for legislators.
As for point 2, Cornish’s announcements essentially is a call for the Legislature to do something to bring the shutdown to an end.
“I believe that if a legislator is suffering the same pain as the people that his or her decisions are affecting, that will spur them to reach a quicker resolution and a successful end to a legislative session,’’ Cornish said in a statement. “I think it’s necessary to put legislators on a more realistic track.’’