Letters: If lawmakers don’t vote on legislation, they should be docked for pay | Letters

In today’s world, if you don’t show up for a job, there’s a good reason your salary is on hold. If you don’t do your job, you’re fired. This reality scenario seems non-existent for state legislators.

In this year’s legislature, a bill that could have had a major impact on Louisiana’s permanent removal from the bottom two spots in most national education performance polls stalled in the Louisiana Senate. The bill, which had already received approval from the House of Representatives, would have retained third-grade students who could not pass a reading assessment after three tries. These students would undergo extensive remedial work, including at least 90 minutes per day of instruction emphasizing phonics, fluency, comprehension, and other reading strategies.

It was an extremely important bill for the Senate, but it failed by two votes. More upsetting, six senators – Stewart Cathey, Heather Cloud, Cleo Fields, Franklin Foil, Jimmy Harris and Greg Tarver – did not vote.

They all failed to do their job. Voters in Louisiana hired them to vote.

This happens frequently in both legislative branches and it must stop. We can’t fire them for this delinquent behavior, but I suggest we put in place a procedure to change their behavior. I challenge our legislators to implement the same procedure that applies to Louisiana daily workers, docking their wages.

Our legislators are paid to propose laws and pass them. It takes a backbone to be registered so that everyone sees their position on the proposed legislation. Some choose to “not show up for work” instead.

We need to stop treating our lawmakers like prima donnas and hold them accountable to the same standards that exist in the real world for not doing their job: Dock their pay.


retired school principal


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