Eager reader Joseph Nelson asks an interesting question: does Senator David Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) still get paid the $123 per diem for expenses for attending the Legislative Session even on days when he doesn’t attend the Legislative Session? As I reported yesterday, Senator Novstrup (whose seat I aspire to occupy next January) was excused from the Senate on February 2 as he was attending the final day of an amusement park operators’ convention in Florida.
I just spoke with Carol from the LRC (1-605-773-3251), and explained very clearly Senator Novstrup’s situation. She informed me that Senators and Representatives are paid the per diem, even if the miss a day of the Session. In fact, they could miss everyday, and still get paid. Apparently, although not codified, it is at the discretion of the Leadership whether to not pay a person the per diem for missing days of the Session.
The per diem is used for expenses relating to the duties and functions. I explained that Senator Novstrup was in Florida, very likely not on State business. Carol stated that he would still likely be paid his per diem. However, a Senator or Representative can voluntarily give up this per diem, if they chose to do so. So perhaps Senator Novstrup will give back the $140ish if he was indeed paid it [Joseph Nelson, comment, Dakota Free Press, 2016.02.16].
I’m judging the State Debate Tournament here in Aberdeen a couple weeks from now. The SDHSAA pays judges wages and reimburses meals, lodging, and mileage. If I get called away to another meeting (but I won’t—this is State Debate! One does not miss State Debate!), SDHSAA will not leave it up to me to decide whether I keep my expense reimbursement; they simply won’t send me the check.
Hmm… it appears the SDHSAA, whom Senator Novstrup doesn’t trust to set policy for high school activities, runs a tighter fiscal ship than the Legislature, which would reimburse Senator Novstrup for Legislative expenses he did not incur.