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Absent Legislators May Still Get Per Diem Reimbursement for Expenses

David Novstrup at FEC 2016, Florida
David Novstrup at IAAPA FEC 2016, Florida

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.

Nelson learns that Senator Novstrup may still get his $123 for February 2:

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.


  1. Rorschach 2016-02-17 09:51

    But doesn’t he still have to pay rent to his dad to live in dad’s basement during session whether he’s there or not? I don’t see Al cutting him any slack on that.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-17 11:26

    Now, now, Ror—David has his own place over in the southeast part of town.

  3. mike from iowa 2016-02-17 11:28

    Just think of the killing they can make when they get per diem to go visit Uncle ALEC who pays their expenses,too.

  4. grudznick 2016-02-17 12:17

    Imagine how much more your Rep. Kaiser will be getting to represent you, Mr. H. $123 a day buys a lot of groceries especially when you eat free every day you attend the legislatures.

    These fellows are trying to double their wages too, since the teachers are getting raises.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-17 15:54

    Oh Oh Cory, now you’ve done it. Pat Powers over at the Dump Site just pee-peed his pants over your calling for Dan Kaiser resignation for not attending legislative sessions and still getting paid.
    Naturally Pat misses the point of why should legislators get paid for not attending sessions and makes guns, Obamacare, and liberalism the core of his attack.
    This just part of first of many salvos that will be directed your way Cory, we must be prepared to show how really stupid is.

  6. Rorschach 2016-02-17 16:31

    “Worse yet Heidelburger recommended that Governor Daugaard appoint himself to Dan’s seat.” Prairie Country PAC – as quoted by the press release blog

    I must have missed Cory’s call for Gov. Daugaard to resign as governor and appoint himelf to the state house. I suppose he could do it though if he wanted to.

    My question is, how did PP find time to write a blog post – even one that was mostly cut and pasted – when he’s so busy trolling EBay for political trinkets. He must have an intern doing the blog work for him.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-17 16:40

    Roger, Pat can have his message. He won’t pull me off mine. I’m not playing his game.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-17 17:38

    I don’t you expect you to play any games, South Dakota state government is not a game.
    Powers however does nothing but play childish games.

  9. John 2016-02-17 20:54

    Great find, Cory. It’s as crony-ish troublesome as the filmed practice in several states of legislators reaching across desks to “vote” their absent colleagues votes. Democracy is a fraud under these practices.

    We should not have to legislate common sense; yet, common sense and civility are apparently absent among the legislative class.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-18 20:14

    Great find on Joe’s part, and something we should seriously ask our legislators about at the weekend crackerbarrels.

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