Senate approves interim per diem and other expenses
May 18, 2013 — 1:08pm
The Minnesota Senate's Rules Committee ratified existing expenses for the period between legislative sessions, which will be unchanged from the current rates, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said Saturday.
The only difference, he said, was to lift a ban on out-of-state travel, although that will likely be limited to meetings of organizations in which legislators are members.
The rates mainly apply to legislators who must travel to St. Paul from considerable distance during the period. Barring special sessions, the interim will last from Tuesday to Feb. 25, 2014.
The rates are:
$86 per day maximum per diem for days with official work.
$100 per night maximum for in-state hotel lodging.
56.5 cents mileage, or for distant districts, air travel from place of residence.
$1,200 per month maximum for apartment leases.
$125 per month maximum for communications -- telephone, fax, internet services.
In addition, reimbursement for in-state travel and out-of-state travel to conferences and seminars must have prior approval by Senate leaders; and similar approval is needed when senators want to pay expenses for an expert witness or consultant.
The memo approved by the committee states that reimbursement during the interim is authorized only in certain cases:
-- For senators attending official committee or subcommittee meetings.
-- For required work by committee chairs.
-- For work by committee members, upon approval by the chair.
-- For bill sponsors who are called upon to present their bills.
-- For Senate leaders performing their duties.
-- For senators attending House committee meetings with approval of Senate Majority Leader.
Interest groups spent less slightly money lobbying state government in 2015 than in the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.