House passes bill to take away lodging allowance for lawmakers living near Capitol

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 10:37pm

A plan to ban lawmakers living close to the Capitol from receiving a daily lodging allowance for each day on the Hill won approval in the House of Representatives easily Monday, although its future is still uncertain.

House sponsor Rep. Rick Womick (R-Rockvale) said he will not accept any changes to his bill, including plans from the Senate that require lawmakers who live outside a 50-mile radius of the Capitol show a receipt to be reimbursed for their lodging expenses.

“My word is my bond. It will not change, otherwise it won’t become law,” said Womick, who drives 38 miles to Legislative Plaza for session four days a week.

The bill passed the House 72-15, despite criticism from a handful of lawmakers who argued they give up their time away from their jobs back home to serve the legislature. The measure now faces a committee hearing in the Senate.

All lawmakers receive $107 a day to cover their lodging expenses, whether they sleep at home, in a hotel or in their legislative office. The bill would take away that payment from lawmakers living within 50-miles. But it would allow those same lawmakers to collect the mileage costs for their daily trips to the Hill each day.

11 Comments on this post:

By: ancienthighway on 3/11/13 at 9:38

Clever plan here. A good number of the remaining Democrats have lodging cut, but Republicans can continue to shack up with lobbyists, in their office, with a mistress, and collect said lodging. They are a sneaky bunch!

I actually support the move to eliminate lodging allowance, but for any and everyone that can't produce a receipt for lodging.

Sixty six dollars for food a day? Is it even possible to spend that much every day and not have serious health problems? Do we need to support the 5-star restaurants to that extent?

By: Kosh III on 3/12/13 at 6:40

They don't even need the food allowance.
I've never had a job where my employer fed me, even McDonald's charged me half-price. Besides, they get plenty of free meals from their lobbyist buddies and corporate masters.

By: courier37027 on 3/12/13 at 9:35

The cliche and double standard is no longer amazing, but certainly cliched. I give you a paraphrased summary in defense of democrats, circa 1993-2001, "What an elected official does with another consenting adult is his business. The economy is so good now maybe more politicians should have mistresses. Get off his back and let him lead our state/city/country." Since when did democrats start invoking Christianity (see Obama care-Haslam article from a few weeks back) and and condemning adultery?The times are a-changin'.

According to state per diem guidelines, any provided meal is deducted from the daily $60 in Nashville. Rural per diem is $46.

By: Bob Yocom on 3/12/13 at 9:50

When I was in the Air Guard in Nashville, one had to live over 90 minutes away to get lodging. And there was no mileage allowance. There was no food allowance either. Eat in the cafeteria or go hungry. Lots of the guardsmen went out to eat in local restaurants at there own expense.

If one does not incur an expense, why should taxpayers give them money? If they wish to sleep in their offices to avoid a motel expense, they should not get the money, they should use that point for re-elections. "My fellow constituents!!!! I have tried to save you money every way I could. I even slept in my office to save you from having to pay a motel room for me!"

Or.... "I stayed at an affordable motel that offered a nice breakfast so I only claimed the actual cost for the motel because it was less than $107 and only $40 for food because my breakfast was FREE"

Now if we had anyone like that in office, THAT would be an example of a politician that cared about his folks back home instead of just trying to nickel and dime the taxpayers for every cent he/she could pocket.

The clowns crying because they spend time away from their jobs knew what they were getting into when they ran for office. The elected officials are there SUPPOSEDLY because they wanted to SERVE, not profit.

By: budlight on 3/12/13 at 10:04

I did not see in the article where it mentioned food for $66 a day. I just saw the amount for lodging. Did I miss something.

Staying in a nice hotel in Nashville can be expensive. The Hampton Inn at Elliston place has rates starting at $124 for a room with a king bed or 2 double beds.

This bill is being written for the Queen of Per Diem. Look up and see who spent the most and does the least in the state legislature.

By: bunnymaytrix on 3/12/13 at 12:59

I wish the public could vote on this ridiculous use of the tax payer money...goodness know this Ai a grrrrreat place to cut some fat out...seriously? I have spent three hours a day in my car going to and from work for the better part of two decades...and all I get is a paycheck at the end of the pay period...a paycheck that does not include food costs or mileage- in fact that paycheck barely allows me to BUY food and gas because it has not gone up like the cost of those things- .. Here is what I would tell those power hungry idiots complaining about taking away from their other jobs" ask yourself WHY you are doing this work" in my opinion, this should be and unpaid labor of love ...you want to make a difference..that is the CRAP you tell US when you want to be elected or take office...volunteers at the food bank,habitat for humanity, Nashville Cares, aren't compensated...no matter what they spend or how much time they volunteer...stop complaining...geeze. Or get of of the position...no one is stopping you..QUIT! We don't care...when you leave there will be someone to take your place...and they will do just as poor a job as you are doing...

By: courier37027 on 3/12/13 at 1:34

A hotel must agree to the CONUS rate of $77 or the giest pays the difference. A higher rate is reimbursed only up to $77 rural, $95 in Tennessee's four large cities.

By: rawhide on 3/13/13 at 9:36

No one is saying it, but you gotta give some credit to the GOP majority for this even getting a vote. Come on, it may hurt, but you can do it . . .

By: TimSkow on 3/13/13 at 10:55

Tim Skow
This bill is certainly going to piss off SHERRY JONES !! Guess she is not going to get paid any more to sleep in her own bed when she drives the 10 miles to her house

By: pswindle on 3/14/13 at 7:27

No one should be paid. They wanted this job and they knew that traveling was involved as most jobs require. Why should they get travel money when everyone travels to their jobs with lot less pay?

By: yucchhii on 3/15/13 at 9:24

The "Lawmakers" who are bitching about the change...let them bitch to our troops overseas who have to "WALK HUNDREDS OF MILES IN THE HEAT!" Think they might feel some pity. I know plenty of people who drive 50 miles in "ONE" direction to get to work and they have to pay for their own GAS AND LUNCH! Of course the "CRIMINAL" element will bitch!! To them I say...GET OVER IT AND JOIN "US" THE ONES WHO HAVE TO SUFFER UNDER "YOUR LAWS"!!! DON'T LIKE IT?............TOO BAD!!