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HB 1060: Raise Lodging and Mileage for State Employees to Federal Standards, Boost Highway Patrol Meal Payment

As we gird for battle over whether the state can afford $600,000 to pay for school meals for all the kids in the state on reduced-price status, the Bureau of Finance and Management reminds us that the Governor wants to spend two and a half times that much to pay state employees more for their motoring, motel rooms, and, for the highway patrol, meals.

BFM proposes House Bill 1060, which would increase travel reimbursements for state workers. BFM summarizes these increases and their total cost in this helpful slide for its budget hearing before Joint Appropriations coming up on Wednesday afternoon:

Bureau of Finance and Management, slides prepared for January 10 Joint Appropriations Committee budget hearing, retrieved 2024.01.08.
Bureau of Finance and Management, slides prepared for January 10 Joint Appropriations Committee budget hearing, retrieved 2024.01.08.

Raising the room reimbursement from $75 to $107 per night makes up over three quarters of the cost of HB 1060. Both the room rate and the mileage rate are raised to match federal rates and thus will automatically increase each year. HB 1060 leaves meal rates for most state employees at the will of the Board of Finance (which currently allows, per ARSD 5:01:02:14, $6 for breakfast, $14 for lunch, and $20 for supper), but it raises the flat daily meal allowance for highway patrol officers assigned to field duties from $14 to $17.

The total cost of upgrading traveling state employees from sharing an AirBnB bathroom to a quiet night at the Days Inn, raising mileage rates to IRS rates, and almost buying Highway Patrol officers another slice of Casey’s pizza is $1,568,328. If we can afford that increase in reimbursements to professionals traveling for the state, we can afford a fraction of that amount to pay for a few more of the kids we require to leave their homes each day and learn in our public schools.


  1. John 2024-01-08 08:06

    It’s ridiculous that the SD per diem rates were not in line with the federal and IRS rates. Living here is not cheaper because we pay one heck of an invisible ‘transportation tax’ on goods and services. For example, almost all of our food is processed and shipped in from out of state – unless you eat field corn.
    Yet, the Highway Patrol does not need a special meal rate – treat them fairly like all the public servants with a standard rate.

  2. V 2024-01-08 08:43

    If those highway patrolmen were women, you would expect them to pack a lunch!!!!

    Feed Our Children

  3. Arlo Blundt 2024-01-08 12:17

    I can see no reason why the meal rates of Highway Patrol Officers should not be the same as other state employees. And no reason why low income children should not receive fully subsidized meals in public school lunch programs. Maybe this session will be the “Food Session”.

  4. LCJ 2024-01-08 13:04

    V, just to be clear there are women Hi-Pos. Sexist much?

  5. Dee 2024-01-08 14:33

    I used to work for the state. Where can you buy breakfast for $6 when they book you in a hotel without light breakfast included? I used to pack my own food on business trips when I could.. Also reimbursement for mileage is too low for wear and tear on my own personal vehicle. Especially the gravels roads I had to travel on.

  6. Matthew k 2024-01-08 14:39

    I have posted before if the GFP pay for the school lands like they do farmers and ranchers for walk in hunting. It would be over 4 million a year. But let’s not expect them to pay for milk when there building a 19 million dollar gun range!!!

  7. V 2024-01-08 17:25

    LCJ, I’ve lived here most of my 68 years and have never seen a female highway patrol officer. In fact, I’ve only seen one female police officer and she was in Sioux Falls, nowhere near Mobridge. Not a high percentage of females in law enforcement in S.D. Not a high percentage of nonwhite officers either. I’m neither sexist or racist, simply realistic and very observant.

  8. larry kurtz 2024-01-08 18:05

    Mrs. LCJ gets all liquored up and trolls my blog, too.

  9. All Mammal 2024-01-09 00:09

    I love me some equal rights and all, but what’s a woman Hi-Po going to do in the middle of nowhere with a 200lb angry dude who is not cooperating? She’s a pair of pants, thrown around like an old duffel bag.

    V is accurate that men would not accept the same compensation as women for the same jobs. Too many Ginny Thomases.

  10. Susan Wismer 2024-01-09 22:07

    Ha! I love this one. The State Board of Finance is the Gov, Constitutional Officers and Commissioners of Bureau of Finance (Jim Terwilliger) and Bureau of Administration (Formerly Scott Bollinger before he retired). I’m sure they didn’t care for being hassled by the hospitality lobbyists for increases in the state hotel room rate. If this bill passes, those lobbyists can hassle 105 legislators instead. And, this bill doesn’t follow through on the philosophy of “South Dakota has a cheaper cost of living.” It adopts federal per diem rates, which historically have been higher than state lodging, meals, and mileage rates. Most importantly, it gives automatic raises via following federal rates, to the hospitality industry, rather than making them beg for every increase. Conservatism reigns,… when it’s convenient for me and thee.

  11. grudznick 2024-01-09 22:59

    Ms. Wismer, grudznick is still a huge fan of your haircut, just so you know. I love the cut of your jib on this, and expect you will be back to smite this aberration of a law bill down. Please, Ms. Wismer, bring Ms. Tyler along. We Conservatives with Common Sense will join with you.

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