Greedy Lawmakers Stall Bill to Limit Daily Allowances



Sen. Bill Ketron
  • Sen. Bill Ketron
State Sen. Ferrell Haile proudly is making it his first bill of the session: He proposes to abolish daily allowances for all lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol. This is good government reform, right? It would save the state $250,000 a year. These lawmakers have been running a scam forever, collecting $173 per diem and sleeping in their own beds at home each night.

Who could oppose such a laudable bill? Meet Sen. Bill Ketron, the Murfreesboro Republican with the cheesy mustache and the pinky ring. As Haile’s bill appeared before the Senate State and Local Government Committee today, Ketron did his best to gum up the works for passage—all while pretending he’s all for it.

He offered an amendment to make lawmakers living outside the 50-mile radius prove they are spending their per diem by handing in receipts. According to Ketron, it’s needed because some of these lawmakers are “milking the system” by sharing motel rooms and condos.

“There was a member who’s no longer here, I recall, he took the per diem and slept in his office and showered downstairs. That’s not quite fair,” Ketron said, innocently batting his eyes.

Ketron is one of the biggest beneficiaries of per diem, dipping his beak for more than $16,000 last year. In 2010, he took $21,393, more than any other state senator living close to the Capitol.

The bill seemed ready to rock ‘n’ roll out of the committee until Ketron made his proposal. Then suddenly—whoa!—everybody needed a little more time to think about things, and it was delayed for a week. We doubt we’ll see it again. For Ketron, it’s mission accomplished!

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