Tuesday, June 05, 2007

End Of Legislative Perk Prompting Resignations

Sen. Sam Smith (D-East Chicago) called it quits, saying he needed to devote more time to his family's funeral business. But is there more to the story? The Indiana Daily Insight's Ed Feigenbaum speculates there may be more to Smith's resignation. He suggests Smith's resignation may be the first of several legislative retirements by members who want to take advantage of a generous legislative health insurance benefit for life package which ceases to exist on July 31. Feigenbaum writes:

Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Samuel Smith, Jr. (D) of East Chicago will resign from his Senate seat in SD 02 effective June 6. Smith says that recent growth in his family business, Divinity Funeral Home, has demanded his full time attention and presence. Some folks tell us to see a spate of additional retirements announced before the July 31 take it (and leave) or leave it deadline for the lucrative old legislative health insurance benefit package.

Read more at Indiana Law Blog and Fort Wayne Observed.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Smith did not serve long enough to garner much of a benefit. He may not have been able to run again anyway. There is an NWI Times story to that effect.

Advance Indiana said...

He was elected in 1998. That's long enough to collect the health insurance for life benefit.

Wilson46201 said...

It's a sad reflection on the dysfunctional U.S. healthcare system that legislators should be making decisions about remaining in political office based primarily on medical costs...

In most civilized countries, all citizens have quality medical care as a right, not as a "perk" for high office.

Anonymous said...

Smoke and Mirrors

Appears the generious LIFE benefit that taxpayers thought was eliminated is still in effect.

Anonymous said...

That's why I said "not much." The benefit is on a sliding scale based on years of service.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first poster.

Sam's problem was a law passed by the legislator saying those with felony convictions - even if sentenced as a misdemeanor - can't run for elected office.

It is only a matter of time before someone challenged him.

From Post Tribune story -
"The political career of Sen. Sam Smith, D-East Chicago, remains hanging by a thread. Under his plea deal, Smith pleaded guilty to a felony in the Build Indiana scandal. He was sentenced by the judge as a misdemeanor.

His ouster is not automatic, though. The way the law works, Smith would still have to be challenged before the state Election Commission."

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first poster.

Sam's problem isn't health care - it's a law passed by the legislature saying that those with felony convictions - even if sentenced as misdemeanors - can't run for elected office.

It's only a matter of time before he was challenged, anyway.

From a Post Tribune story -
"The political career of Sen. Sam Smith, D-East Chicago, remains hanging by a thread. Under his plea deal, Smith pleaded guilty to a felony in the Build Indiana scandal. He was sentenced by the judge as a misdemeanor.

His ouster is not automatic, though. The way the law works, Smith would still have to be challenged before the state Election Commission, Simmons said."

Anonymous said...

I'm spacing out here, but who was the clown elected to fill Anita Bowser's seat?

This wasn't the guy, right?

Anonymous said...

With a funeral director no longer a law maker, perhaps now we can revisit the idea of abandoning the antiquated coroner's system of death investigations and adopt the more advanced and professional Medical Examiner's system.

Let's hope that Rep. Pat Miller reads this.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Pat Miller doesn't hang out much on this site....

Anonymous said...

Pat Miller's a senator, a fellow Methodist, and one of the narrowes-tminded souls on the face of the earth.

So yes, there is no chance at all she'd be on this site.