Legislative Professionalism

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Legislative professionalism is the amount of work and time put into a legislature’s job. This includes the hours, whether it is full time or part time; the salary, whether it is volunteer or just enough money to live on; and the staff, whether there is a full staff or no staff. Usually legislatures with higher professionalism work full time, have a salary that he/she can survive on, and is well staffed. In Virginia, legislatures receive less than $20,000 which leads to the belief that their job is not very professional. The legislatures also work minimal time; they meet sixty days on even numbered years and thirty days on odd numbered years. In Tennessee, the legislative body is kept at part time. They are only allowed to work ninety “legislative days” for each two year term and get paid $140 per day. An allowance of $1000 is also awarded monthly to help legislatures maintain an office either at home or somewhere else in the district. The speaker of each house, however, receives triple the salary. In both cases, the legislatures spend two thirds of their time legislating even though their pay is not suffice and they must take on another job. They both have intermediate sized staff. Full time legislatures may be paid little but they are required to receive insurance and even retirement. The tax payers contribute at least $284 per month for health insurance for what some people call “useless skills”. Part time legislatures put in time for a minimum wage because they actually care about the people they represent whereas some full timers could be in this legislative duty to gain insurance and retirement benefits. Pay including benefits ranges to over $100,000 a year per full time legislature. This amount of money is unreasonable to be directed towards a legislature when areas of the state could use even a portion of that money.

Erickson, B. (2009). Full and part time legislatures. NCIS, Retrieved from...
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