House Speaker Defends Laziness: "If we don’t work, we can’t screw up."

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The Columbus Dispatch reported yesterday that Ohio lawmakers are having their least productive year in a decade, which is sort of like saying Jason Priestley is a worse actor than he was in 1997. Yet, as hard as it is to believe, it’s actually true. In the past six months, the Ohio House has met only 10 times. The Ohio Senate isn’t much better, meeting only 12 times over the same time-span. That’s not a bad work schedule, if you’re a firefighter recovering from 1st degree burns over your entire body. Unfortunately for state lawmakers, who are paid a base salary of $58,933, they don’t have such an excuse. And don’t think they’ve just learned to be more efficient with their time. The state legislature has passed just 27 bills into law this year. That’s half the number of bills passed in 2005, and one quarter the number passed in 2001. Confronted with such a dismal report card, you’d expect Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, a Republican from Kettering, to offer some long-winded explanation, leaving you confused yet unable to argue with him. But he was apparently feeling a bit uninspired himself when interviewed by the Dispatch reporter. “There’s just not a lot of things ready,” he said. “I don’t really have a more extensive reason than that.” Husted even questioned whether not doing anything was actually a bad thing. “Believe me,” he said, “you may not be so excited about some of the things that people might want to move on the floor.” Paying politicians to do nothing? The idea’s so crazy, it just might be brilliant. The only thing left to figure out is how we can avoid paying them at all. -- Jared Klaus

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