Interestingly – and inconveniently for Stivers – Thayer’s election as majority leader opens up an important committee chairmanship: State Government. That’s the committee which will likely handle pension reform and some other big issues. It’s also the committee that newly returned but controversial Republican Sen. Albert Robinson once chaired.
A major reason Robinson is controversial is an amendment he offered when he was last in the Senate which would have significantly sweetened legislative pensions. He slipped in the amendment in a way which allowed other senators to claim they didn’t realize its ramifications.
Robinson contends those senators knew what they voted for all along. In the end, the amendment passed but was later thrown out by the courts. But it helped Tom Jensen take Robinson out in a Republican primary and Robinson was unable to get back until Jensen resigned this year to run for circuit judge.
When Robinson declared his candidacy to succeed Jensen, some Republican senators openly expressed disapproval. But he won and he’s back. He no doubt would like to have his committee chairmanship back.
If that happens, Stivers’ honeymoon may not last very long. Right off the bat, Stivers will find out the job Williams held for 13 years may not be quite as enjoyable as it looked from the outside.
And as the General Assembly takes up redistricting, pension reform and perhaps gambling or tax reform in a short session, he may find it even less fun.