It is a truism that laws tend to be arranged for the benefit of the political class. Still, I was surprised how blatantly this truism plays out in the case of a Connecticut law by the name of Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-51l, which I learned of through a post earlier this year by Daniel Schwartz at his Connecticut Employment Law Blog. He writes:
Here’s the scenario: Suppose you are a salesperson for a mid-size employer in the state and you decide to run for a full-time local or state office. You then win (congrats). And maybe you win a second term. But then – after eight years in office – you decide to leave office.
Can you get your job back with your prior employer? Well, under state law, the answer is remarkably (with a caveat or two) yes.
And better still: you can get credit for your time in office.
The provision covers private Connecticut employers with 25 or more persons on their payroll, and has a couple of exceptions, as when an employer manages to plead hardship or changed circumstances. Still, imagine being able to demand that your job at United Technologies, Yale-New Haven Hospital, or ESPN be held open for eight years:
Upon reapplication to the employer, the employer must then reinstate that employee to his or her original position or a similar position with equivalent pay and accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other service credits.
Because Connecticut’s own legislature is part-time rather than full-time, the lawmakers who maintain this statute on the books can’t take advantage of it themselves (unless they happen to run for another public office, which is hardly unheard of). But members of the political class tend to hang out with each other, and can readily identify with each other’s situations.
More, it sometimes seems, than with the situation of those they govern.
Recommended read: Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America by Walter Olson.
Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. Prior to joining Cato, Olson was a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and has been a columnist for Great Britain’s Times Online as well as Reason.