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House Members Get a Per Diem Boost

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Members of the Washington State House have been receiving an extra $30 a day to be in Olympia since the start for the year.

Deputy Chief Clerk Bernard Dean confirmed yesterday that the decision to increase lawmakers’ daily stipend — known as a per diem —from $90 a day to $120 a day was made last month, and that it took effect retroactively to Jan. 1.

Dean said that the increased rate is still lower than the $155 daily rate that state employees can claim when they travel to Thurston County. House per diem rates have been $90 since 2005, except for a two-year period — 2007 through 2008 — that it was set at $100.

The Senate has not made any changes to its per diem policy, though its members are aware of the changes made in the House, said Secretary of the Senate Hunter Goodman. Excluding leadership positions, a lawmaker’s salary is $42,106 a year, plus the per diem for expenses incurred when they’re at the Capitol.

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