Bill Targets Hotel Pay For Capitol-Area Lawmakers - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Bill Targets Hotel Pay For Capitol-Area Lawmakers

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A bill filed in the state Senate would end an automatic hotel allowance for lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Statehouse.

According to State Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin), state legislators often charge the tax payers for hotel stays they never use. On Wednesday, Haile proposed Senate Bill 107 which would end payment of hotels rooms to those who live within 50 miles of Tennessee's State Capitol Building.

Under current rules, every lawmaker receives $173 each day to offset meals and lodging while they are participating in legislative proceedings, regardless of whether they spend the night at a hotel.

"I should not be reimbursed for a hotel stay if I sleep in my own bed at night," said Senator Haile.  "We are accountable to the taxpayers, and we felt it was time to change the system."

The bill would eliminate the lodging allowance for lawmakers who live nearby. But it would continue to allow them to receive food money based on the current federal per diem rate, which is pegged at $66 in 2013.

Haile's bill is co-sponsored by fellow Republican Sens. Steven Dickerson of Nashville, Jack Johnson of Franklin and Mark Green of Clarksville. The House sponsor is Republican Rep. Rick Womick of Murfreesboro.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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