Legislative employees are constitutionally forbidden from receiving bonuses in Texas. But don’t let a little thing like “the law” stop some state senators. According to news reports, it seems state senators of both parties are playing semantic games to skirt the clear-reading of Texas’ Constitution.

Article II, Section 44, of the Texas Constitution says that the state “shall not grant extra compensation to any officer, agent, servant, or public contractors, after such public service shall have been performed or contract entered into, for the performance of the same.”

The Texas House caps the monthly salaries of legislative employees (no more than $4,017 per month), making it impossible to skirt the no-bonuses rule. The Senate, on the other hand, lets senators “bump” the pay of favored employees for a month. But it’s not a bonus, the senators pay, er, say.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Sen. Mike Jackson (R-La Porte) doubled the pay of his highest paid staffer (who usually makes $7,000 monthly). That’s some bump.

But it’s not a bonus. No, sir. No bonus there. Nope.

Even though my boss said there wasn’t any money available for bonuses this year, maybe he’d be willing to “bump” my pay next month. It’s obviously not a bonus.

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