Lawmakers paid before swearing in bothers Midstate’s new senator

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – John DiSanto won a state Senate seat on Nov. 8.

He will be sworn in as a new senator on Jan. 3.

But he got paid Dec. 1 for the entire month.

“Nobody gets paid before they do the work. It just doesn’t happen. Do you get paid before you work?” he asked.

Actually, all lawmakers do, including a handful of new House members from the Midstate.

“I think it’s just an example of how the state legislators treat themselves differently,” DiSanto said.

Apparently, the state Constitution makes the state legislature do it.

“The term of the office begins December 1 and they hold the office despite not being sworn in,” Senate GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher read from the Constitution.

But DiSanto says it violates his constitution. He admits he is doing some work preparing his offices and getting ready to be a senator, but not enough to warrant a paycheck. He’ll donate the money to charity, he said.

“It’s wonderful if he’s able to give that back or have that type of concern for how money is being spent, but the constituents need to know they have a representative and have someone there when their term begins,” Kocher said.

Former Senator Rob Teplitz’s last paycheck was Nov. 1, and so will DiSanto’s in his final month. DiSanto said he will accept a salary and health care, but not a pension.

“I was voted in to effect change and this is an example, I think, where a regular working man will look at this and say, ‘that’s not right getting paid before you do the work. I don’t get paid before I do the work. Why should legislators get paid before they do the work?'”

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