The Minnesota Senate is upping the living allowance for outstate senators who have been struggling to find affordable housing in St. Paul during the legislative session.
"We've received quite a bit of feedback from members of the Senate...bipartisanly, that the current reimbursement for the housing allowance is inadequate to cover costs," Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said Monday during a meeting of the Senate Rules Committee. "As it turns out, over half of the members are actually taking money out of their pocket to cover the costs of their lease agreement, utilities and parking."
The bipartisan rules committee voted unanimously for a resolution to increase the living expense per diem to $1,500 a month while the Senate is in session, up from the current rate of $1,200 a month. The housing allowance was last raised in 2007.
The rules committee also increased members' reimbursement for telecommunications expenses from $125 a month to $200 a month.
A Duluth native who just barely lost Virginia's GOP gubernatorial primary said that politicians have not gone far enough in condemning the left for violence during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville. "I think that the left is going to try to use this as an excuse to crack down on conservative free speech," said Corey Stewart. "I think they're going to try to use this as an excuse to remove more historical monuments."