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Bad idea. Good idea.

   The lead editorial in today's Buffalo News -- "Bad timing on a bad idea" -- pokes state Sen. Antoine Thompson [left] for his proposal that would give state and local public employees two paid days off a year Senthompson for every school-age child they have so they can "participate in his or her child's education." Other bills would give public employees paid days off to donate blood or get a colon cancer screening. [Such time off is already offered for breast cancer and prostate cancer screens.]
   Text and other details of the bill -- Bill No. S1211 -- can be found here. [Be sure and tell it you want that bill number from the year 2009.] 
   Bad idea. Unless, maybe, the workers take unpaid time to volunteer or attend parent-teacher conferences. Then they'd not only help their children's education. They'd be helping the state pay for it.

   But noooooooo.
   Thompson, a Buffalo Democrat, isn’t proposing that state workers come anywhere near the sacrifice being made by those in many private companies and in public service in other states. He wants to give them another paid perk, right at the moment when the state is broke, scads of taxpayers are losing their jobs and nobody, nowhere, has as cushy a deal as those on the public payroll in the Empire State.

   But the second edie -- "A forward-looking deal" -- praises Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown for improvising a deal that will pay Maryellen Opalinski a salary for doing what she's devoted herself to doing anyway - providing constant care to her seriously injured life partner, Patricia A. Parete. Parete, of course, is the Buffalo Police officer wounded in the line of duty in 2006 and Opalinski is a nurse.
   It is a creative way around the outdated approach to employee benefits that excludes domestic partners who are unmarried only because the state won't allow them to get married.Schneegold

   In the neighboring real estate devoted to the My View column, Jim Schneegold [right] wonders why everyone seems to be treating him like an old person.

   And, in the Another Voice slot, Grace-Marie Turner, argues in favor of free-market solutions for health care problems.

-- George Pyle/Editorial Writer   

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