11th-hour push would dial up per diems for lawmakers

As the 110th General Assembly works its way toward adjournment, lawmakers are making an 11-hour push to pad their expense accounts.

As Andy Sher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports, the bill sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams of Cookeville (HB1941) would stop using the federal reimbursement rate for hotels and instead use a new formula based on Nashville’s downtown business district. Williams told the House Government Operations Committee on Monday that the change would result in an additional $30 to $60 per night, depending one hotel prices. (The current federal rate is $170 per night.)

Lawmakers receive the daily hotel reimbursement regardless of the price they pay for hotels, or if they rent their own apartments when they are in town on legislative business (or even if they sleep in their offices for free).

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