A state lawmaker tore up his paycheck in protest Monday, inviting others to do the same. Representative Kurt Swaim, a Democrat from Bloomfield, stood on the House floor and ripped his paycheck into pieces to call attention to the legislature’s failure to come up with a plan for paying the state’s overdue legal bills.
“I’m not going to cash my check as long as we’re not paying our bills,” Swaim said.
The state program that provides legal defense to Iowans who’re accused of a crime but can’t afford an attorney ran out of money weeks ago. A proposal to pay the state’s overdue bills to attorneys, court reporters and others who work on cases for indigent clients is linked with another controversial proposal that deals with tax cuts, dooming the entire package. House Republicans proposed giving the governor authority to shift money around the state budget to cover the overdue legal bills, but Governor Branstad has called that bad budgeting.