Legislators and other elected officials are currently exempt from having their wages garnished for state court judgments, according to Rep. Ed Morse, R-Hayden, who introduced legislation this morning to remove the exemption. Morse said his bill would treat elected officials like anyone else.
Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, spoke out against the bill and opposed introducing it. “During the Legislature, we are doing the people’s business,” he said, and shouldn’t “be distracted by such things as this.” He asked his fellow lawmakers to “reflect for a moment on how intense this three months is” and the “emotional drain,” and said, “This exception makes a lot of sense to me.”
However, he was outvoted, and the House State Affairs Committee agreed to introduce Morse’s bill. Morse said the exception dates back to 1939, and only bars state court garnishments of elected officials’ pay – not federal. That’s why former state Rep. Phil Hart’s entire legislative salary was able to be garnished by the IRS for his federal income tax debts, but state courts couldn’t do the same.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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