Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Only Fair

The news below was reported by Jacob Gershman in the Wall Street Journal.

Lawmakers in Albany say they're tired of being treated as punching bags. One is taking those concerns literally.

State Sen. Eric Adams, a Democrat from Brooklyn, wants to adjust the penal code so that sentences for assaulting elected officials are harsher than for attacking regular civilians.

He's proposing to establish the felony offense of assaulting an elected official. Those convicted of such a crime would face up to 5½ years—more than double the maximum term normally handed down.

"If we're holding elected officials accountable for their role as public servants," said Mr. Adams…

 Wait, what did I miss? When did we start holding elected officials accountable? Politicians beat up photographers, slap staffers, betray the public trust, hide their dealings with people doing business with the government, misuse public property, and yet seldom seem to suffer any legal ramifications. Hey, we are usually too dumb even to pay attention to what they are doing after we elect them let alone vote the bad ones out of office.

All that said, I think Senator Adams is right. Politicians are sometimes targeted because of their notoriety, so the law is a good idea and probably should be enacted. However, It should not even be considered until the Legislature passes an ethics law that will actually hold elected officials accountable for their actions while in office. The ethics law should also make them reveal who they and their outside business entities do business with and how much they earn from those dealings. The law must also make sure that there will actually be proceedings against legislators who violate the public trust and the law of the land. The recently passed ethics legislation will not do that.

One more thing; this Legislature must also outlaw the outrageous situation that allows members of the Legislature, like Jack McEneny, to retire from their job as a Legislator and collect their retirement while also collecting a salary and stipend as a full-time Legislator.

No wonder so many people want to punch these dickweeds.