Tag Archives: out-of-state

Harwell Blocks Payments for Some Out-of-State Traveling

House Speaker Beth Harwell, who donates her own legislative expense payments to charity, has moved to curtail the expense money other state representatives collect for out-of-state traveling.
Harwell put the new policy in place with a memo sent to all members of the House about a week before adjournment of the 2011 legislative session. Most out-of-state travel by lawmakers traditionally occurs after the session ends and lawmakers have more free time.
Under both her predecessors as House speaker and under Harwell until the May 13 memo, representatives were allowed to take one out-of-state trip per year with taxpayers covering transportation — either reimbursement for driving or airplane fare — plus hotel costs and an automatic expense allowance, currently $176 per day and at $185 for most of last year.
But they were also allowed to make more trips and still bill the state for the daily expense allowance, called “per diem,” though not for transportation and hotel costs. Harwell’s new policy makes the one-trip-per-year rule apply to per diem payments, too.
She noted the lawmakers can still charge their travel expenses to their political campaign accounts, but not to taxpayers.
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