AUSTIN (AP) - The Texas Legislature's long-standing practice of
hiring full-time employees at part-time hours and pay -- may be
nearing an end.
The Austin American-Statesman has reported that at least 12
House employees are paid less than $300 a month and work other
jobs. But those employees have been enjoying the insurance and
pension benefits of full-time employment.
Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick has ordered a review by the
House Investigations and Ethics Committee.
House Administration chairman Tony Goolsby asked lawmakers to
review their records, noting that such arrangements would violate
House rules and state law.
The newspaper reported that Travis County District Attorney
Ronnie Earle also is investigating the practice for possible
criminal violations. Earle's office would not confirm such an
Texas House rules allow each lawmaker to hire and supervise his
employees, but the rules also define full-time status as 40 hours
-- At least two of the ghost employees employed by House
Democrats were former lawmakers, whose pension is tied to years of
service. That means the longer they remain a full-time employee,
the more they get paid in retirement.