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Better late than never?

Last Friday, both houses of the Legislature met very briefly -- just long enough to ensure that its members could take a three-day Fourth of July holiday while still receiving their $142-per-day, tax-free expense payments.

Around the Capitol, those brief Friday meetings are known as "per-diem sessions." Had legislators taken Friday off -- their usual practice -- in addition to Monday's Fourth of July holiday, they would have been out of session for more than three consecutive days -- and their expense payments would have been cut off.

That's no small matter -- nearly $600 per member. Lawmakers had just experienced a two-week interruption of salaries and expense payments for failing to meet a June 15 deadline for passing a balanced state budget.

But in their haste to qualify for the payments and leave town, members of the state Assembly left one item of business undone -- a resolution celebrating Independence Day. So today, one day after the fact, the Assembly took up the resolution.

"Today we celebrate our independence," said its author, Chino Hills Republican Curt Hagman.

The resolution passed on a voice vote without dissent, but with only 60 of the Assembly's other 79 members signing on as co-authors.

After House Resolution 18 was passed, two Assembly members read excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.


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