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7 Minute Session Nets State Senators $568 Each

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    California Gov. Jerry Brown announces his proposed budget at the California State Capitol on Jan. 10, 2011, in Sacramento.

    If Gov. Jerry Brown is serious about squeezing every penny back into the state's budget he might want to tell the state Senate not to hold seven minute meetings.

    The new old governor made national headlines last week when he announced that he was cutting off 48,000 state issued cell phones to save California taxpayers $20 million.

    The move was a small step to closing the state's $25 billion shortfall but Brown was trying to make a statement.

    Friday the state Senate held a meeting that lasted just long enough "to listen to an invocation, say the pledge of allegiance, have the clerk read a bill title" and go home, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    What the seven minute meeting did do is ensure that each senator could collect $568 in per diem payments for Friday through Monday, ahead of the Martin Luther Ling holiday.

    California's Constitution says state Senators are eligible to collect per diems for every day they are not in recess for more than three calendar days.

    Some senators told the paper that despite the short meeting, they stayed on the job Friday earning their per diems, which are given tax-free to lawmakers who live outside of Sacramento for their living expenses.

    The senate next plans to hold a Friday session before the three-day Cesar Chavez Day holiday in March.