Misguided in Salem

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board April 08, 2013 10:48 am

Certain Oregon lawmakers seem more concerned about the health of state workers than the state’s economy, which isn’t exactly in marathon-ready shape these days.

It’s not that we don’t want public workers to be in fine fettle.

But we’re confident that they know what’s good for them and what’s not.

Yet Rep. Jim Thompson, a Republican from Dallas, has introduced a bill (HB 2767) calling for the state’s Public Employees Benefits Board to buy at least 10 desks which are equipped with a treadmill. The idea is that workers can get a cardio workout while they’re dealing with their paperwork. The bill also would require the state to study, over two years, whether the employees who have treadmill desks are healthier.

Meanwhile, Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, a Democrat from Portland, is sponsoring House Bill 3403, which would restrict the items in vending machines in public buildings based on such factors as total calories and percentage of calories from fat.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with either idea.

Nothing, that is, except that neither has anything to do with what should be the Legislature’s main concern, which is making sure the state can pay its bills.