For those who have absolutely no life, you may be interested to know that, via the Internet, you can watch the Nebraska legislature live every day in all its mind-numbing, spleen-blanching, soporific glory. Just click on http://www.netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand during the hours they are in session and shazam – there you are in the George W. Norris Legislative Chamber (virtually, of course), listening and watching as the nomothetic sausage is made. I should warn you, however, that unless you like to listen to diminutive bearded Afro-American men engage in essentially non-stop racial rants, you may find this viewing experience less than edifying. Then again, Ernie’s bombast is at least marginally more entertaining than the drone and hum of balding paunchy white men harrumphing on subjects of interest only to themselves and, possibly, a small cadre of other pot-bellied bald guys of the Caucasian persuasion. There are, of course, a few somewhat younger people in this group, but they are mostly occupied in sending aides out for lattes and croissants while flashing toothy smiles at anything that resembles a TV camera.
Anyway, as I listened to/watched these folks discuss in excruciating detail such weighty matters as how much should truckers be fined for spilling livestock manure on the sacred streets of south Omaha and whether or not neighborhood watch groups should be allowed to place yellow lights on top of their “patrol” cars, I began to wonder ‘zactly how much we are paying these folks to daily immerse themselves in such dreck. Which, naturally, led me to further wonder how much people in other states were paying their assorted representatives, senators, assemblymen (and women), etc., etc., to perform other equally momentous tasks. So I cranked up my trusty Google machine and had at it. It turns out that there is an astounding diversity in the compensation of these state-level leggies … so much so that I am moved to share the results of my investigations below:
The above compilation is sorted according to total annual cost of representative salaries only.
New Hampshire leads the nation, both in total number of state representatives (424) and cheapness. Them stingy Hampshirites pay their reps exactly nothing in base salary and only a modest per diem for those who attend. In spite of this, they boast, as stated, the largest number of state solons of all 50 states. Either unemployment is really bad in New Hampshire or there is a complete dearth of diverting activities, or both.
Other noteworthy facts – Nebraska, which has the least number of state legislators in the nation at 49, is 13th of 50 in the lowest salary category at $20,112 (base salary of $12,000 plus per diem), while, to absolutely no one’s surprise, California runs the most expensive state legislature in the nation (and probably in the galaxy) at $122,103 per representative ($95,291 annual base plus a generous per diem – which is paid on a 284 day session!).
Of further note, only the afore-mentioned New Hampshire at $254,400 per annum, and New Mexico (which pays its reps zero base and a small per diem amounting to $689,920 per year) spend less annually in compensation of its state legislature than does Nebraska at $985,488.
There are lots of other nuggets in the data which I will let you discover on your own if you are so inclined.