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Jon Coupal

ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD, SENATOR?

Jon Coupal is President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Ancient Greek historian Herodotus tells us that when the Persians decided a matter while drunk, they made a rule to reconsider it when sober.

Recent news from Sacramento tells us that the state Legislature may have adopted at least the first part of the Persian ritual. Members of the Senate were recently issued cards with a phone number they could call 24/7 when inebriated, so they could be picked at whatever location and be driven home by a Senate employee. When the program became public last week, it withered under public ridicule and the Senate leadership responded by attempting to quietly put the genie back in the bottle by canceling the free service to lawmakers late Friday afternoon.

However, if the “drunks ride free” cards are no longer valid, the questions raised by this elitist perk remain.

The program was probably a defensive reaction to the bad publicity stemming from the drunken driving arrests of four lawmakers in the last five years, but it makes one wonder how serious is this problem? If taxpayers were expected to pay for this service, should money also be spent providing counseling or detox to those members of the Legislature who drink inexcess? Perhaps these cards were a tacit admission that some legislators have a drinking problem,which may boost the argument that some have been making that drug testing should be required for elected officials. Just last year such a bill was introduced in the Florida Legislature.

To read the entire column click here http://www.hjta.org/california-commentary/one-more-for-the-road-senator/