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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Junkets or not, state lawmakers on the move

15

July

UPDATE 7/16: Republican Reps. Ellyn Bogdanoff and Bill Galvano were on the list but have informed the House they do not intend to seek state funding for travel.

More than 40 state lawmakers will be traveling out of state at taxpayer expense to conferences this summer, starting next week with the National Conference of State Legislatures in New Orleans.

The cost, including for some House staff members, could exceed $80,000. But that is less than last year, when nearly 80 lawmakers filed for state-paid travel to Philadelphia and Boston at a cost of at least $125,000. The trips were controversial because lawmakers were accusing local governments of wasteful spending, though many defend the conferences as worthwhile.

In the House, six members are going to NCSL next Tuesday and 17 will go the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in Chicago beginning July 29. In the Senate, five members are going to NCSL, 12 are headed to ALEC.

State Representatives attending conferences, click here. House staffers are here. Assuming the state pays $1,250 for each -- the maximum reimbursement from House general funds -- the cost would be $43,750.

The total expected bill to the state for state senators attending conferences is $36,400.

The state is paying for travel hotel and registration fees to NCSL for Sen. Arthenia Joyner, Sen. Tony Hill, Sen. Al Lawson, Nan Rich and Jeremy Ring.

The state will be paying for travel, hotel and registration to ALEC for Sen. Carey Baker, Senate President Ken Pruitt, Sen. Larcenia Bullard, Mike Bennett, Mike Haridopolos, Jim King, Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Doc Peaden who told Senate staff he will not charge the state for the miles he drives in his car.

Also, the state is paying for Sen. Burt Saunders and Dan Webster who will be attending the conference during the lame duck period of their Legislative terms. The state is only paying the registration fee for Sen. Paula Dockery and Sen. Jim King is reimbursing the state for the difference between his first class airline ticket and regular fare.

The state is also paying for State Sen. Steve Geller, another lameduck, to attend both the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States and National Conference of Insurance Legislators. And it’s paying for Sen. Lee Constantine to attend the National Conference of State Legislators, Energy Efficiency Institute.

-- By Alex Leary and Jennifer Liberto.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:29am]

    

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