Friday, January 21, 2011

Morrisette Wants 2-year Rule Implemented

By Calvin Wright/NewsRadio 1000 KTOK ~  "It stinks. It doesn't pass the smell test." That's what Representative Richard Morrisette of Oklahoma City is saying about an opinion issued years ago by the Attorney General which states former legislators can take state agency jobs shortly after leaving office, If their salaries do not come from appropriated funds.

"I believe the founders of the (state) Constitution meant for legislators to have a cooling-off period before going to work for state government." Morrisette tells KTOK.

Morrrisette's filed a measure to prohibit former state lawmakers from taking any state agency job for at least two years, regardless of where the money for salaries comes from.

He points to three former lawmakers who were recently hired-on by the State Insurance Commisison, and also the appointment by Governor Fallin of former Senate Pro Tem Glenn Coffee as Secretary of State.

Officials say in both cases, salaries come from fees, not appropriated money.

"Primarily one of the reasons they're doing it is to raise their base-level retirement. Under state pensions, your retirement is set at the highest level of your last salary. A legislator makes $38,500 (a year.) These jobs over there are paying anywhere from $90,000 to $99,000."

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