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900-920 Water Street
Downtown Mall
Meadville, PA  16335
Phone (814) 336-1136
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Fairview Township Building
7471 McCray Rd., Fairview, PA
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Cranesville, PA 16410
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Hon. Brad Roae
151 East Wing
Harrisburg PA 17120-2006
Phone: (717) 787-2353
Fax: 717-782-2902

E-mail:
  broae@pahousegop.com

Roae Seeks to Change the Way Legislators are Compensated for Travel Expenses
5/8/2013

HARRISBURG – Following media stories and criticism of excessive use of the system to compensate state representatives for travel, lodging and meal-related expenses, Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford) this week introduced a bill to reform this legislative perk.

“It is clear that the use of the system has become excessive in certain situations,” Roae said.  “We have people seeking compensation for meals and travel on holidays, including Christmas.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for a state lawmaker’s Christmas dinner.”

State representatives are currently eligible to receive what is commonly referred to as a per diem, or payment for travel, lodging and meal expenses related to their work for the Legislature.

While many private-sector firms require workers to submit receipts for reimbursement, state representatives are eligible to receive a set sum of money, regardless of how much they really spent on lodging and meals.

Media reports suggested some state representatives were taking advantage of the system by requesting per diems for work supposedly performed on weekends and holidays, when the House was not in session and no committee meetings were being held.

In response, Roae introduced legislation to change the House rules governing per diems.  His reforms would:

  • Prevent representatives who are not on a particular committee from attending that committee’s hearings or meetings just to receive a per diem.
  • Preclude the payment of per diems for official holidays when the House is not in session and the Capitol complex staff are not at work.
  • Restrict the payment of per diems for work done on Saturdays and Sundays.

There would be commonsense exemptions for these reforms.  For example, a representative would be able to seek a per diem for attending a committee meeting if his or her legislation was the subject of the meeting, even if he or she was not on that particular committee.

Likewise, state representatives could put in for a per diem on a Saturday or Sunday if the House was in session the following day, since many representatives who live far away from the Capitol travel on the day before session begins.

“My goal is to apply common sense to a system where it is currently lacking,” Roae said.  “Leaving the system as it is now will only further erode public trust in the state Legislature.”

Representative Brad Roae
6th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Dan Massing
717.772.9845
dmassing@pahousegop.com
RepRoae.com / Facebook.com/RepRoae
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