Up until now, Massachusetts state employees who were convicted of any criminal offense related to their official roles have had to forfeit their state pension.  Period.  But, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently decided that stripping a crooked Peabody cop of his pension for a misdemeanor conviction violates his *Eighth Amendment rights.  Enter the Massachusetts Legislature.

Never wanting to waste an opportunity, the Democrat controlled legislature, which saw three consecutive House Speakers resign in disgrace, (one went to prison), will consider a wholesale change to the pension rules.  How about a sliding scale that would determine how much pension a crooked state employee gets based upon the severity of his or her crime?  You can't make this stuff up!

The rules change, which according to The Boston Herald was "quietly tucked into a special commission's proposal," sets a "minimum allowance," ensuring the convicted would still receive at least a partial pension for life.

For the record, Governor Charlie Baker can't decide whether he likes the idea or not.

I'd tell you to write or call your delegation to urge lawmakers to reject this piece of garbage but you know they won't do it.  After all, this is the courageous crew that got a pay raise in December then boldly voted to raise their booty again the following month.

When political corruption is a parlor game as it is here in Massachusetts protecting the pension makes sense.

*The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits excessive bail, the imposition of excessive fines and the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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