Shut Down & Still Being Paid
The government shutdown is affecting a large group of people both directly and indirectly. Many USDA web sites where we go to consult for news stories have been shuttered and interestingly a lot of federal workers are getting some fallout blame for what Congress is, or isn't doing. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed this issue.
VILSACK: The fact that we're seeing a lot of folks expressing criticisms and concerns about federal workers I sincerely hope that folks at USDA understand how wrong those folks are. I think the work we do here is extraordinary and the people who do the work are extraordinary.
One thing is for sure...regardless of how long this shut down continues, Congress is still being paid. That's thanks to the 27th Amendment to the Constitution. It was designed to prevent members of Congress from voting a pay raise for themselves. But, it also protects them from taking a pay cut. The average total payout for congressional members is something like $255-thousand dollars per day. The current salary of members of Congress is $174,000 per year, although some members in leadership positions get paid more. Congressional staff members on the other hand will only be paid if they are deemed crucial to the politicians continued work.
Now with today's Food Forethought, here's Lacy Gray.
Washington state and Colorado have both legalized marijuana use, and even though growing, selling, or using marijuana is illegal by federal law, the U.S. Department of Justice has decided to allow the cultivation of marijuana in both those states, at least for now. Both Colorado and Washington are set to allow sales from specially licensed marijuana stores to persons over 21 early next year. In Washington many city governments are approving moratoriums on applying for city permits to sell marijuana in order to have more time to set zoning restrictions. While the federal government's recent announcement that it would not make it a priority to prosecute marijuana businesses in compliance with state law has inspired cannabis users and entrepreneurs, I don't think farmers and others should jump on the marijuana growing bandwagon just yet. It's not unheard of for the federal government to make an "about face" on law making or "law breaking" decisions. One would not want to invest time, money, and effort into raising a crop that would ultimately be seized and destroyed. Right now it would probably be wise to take the "wait and see" approach to marijuana growing and selling.
Thanks Lacy. That's today's Northwest Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.