Lawmakers hike their expense allowance
On Sept. 17, Oregon's legislative administration committee adopted a new policy that says some lawmakers will now get higher allowances for the months that they're not in Salem for session.
Lawmakers with districts of less than 1,000 square miles receive a monthly allowance of $450 in the interim. That allowance will remain the same.
But lawmakers increased the interim allowance for lawmakers who have to traverse longer distances to meet with constituents.
The monthly allowances have not been updated since 2001, according to Legislative Administration. The new increases account for inflation and for the geographic variations in districts.
The allowance goes up as a member's district gets larger.
For those with districts between 1,000 and 4,999 square miles, they approved a monthly bump from $550 to $575.
For districts between 5,000 and 9,999 square miles, they approved a monthly bump from $650 to $725.
And for those with districts of 10,000 square miles or larger — just 6 out of the 90 districts meet that — approved an increase from $750 to $1,025.
The increases have already been accounted for in the legislature's adopted budget, Joshua Sweet, the legislature's financial services director, told lawmakers.