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Wash. State Senators Receive Higher Per Diem After Blasting 2014 Hike

File photo by Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network
The Washington Capitol in Olympia.

Three Washington state senators received a boost in their per diem last month, despite previously saying they wouldn’t take a raise in their daily allowance.

In March 2014, a Washington Senate committee narrowly voted to increase the reimbursement senators get when they’re in session to $120 a day - a $30 increase.

Several Republican senators quickly denounced the hike and declared they would not accept the extra pay.

But records show that this January three of those senators were reimbursed at a higher rate.

Senators Steve O’Ban and Michael Baumgartner received the full $120 a day. Baumgartner says only pledged to take the lower amount in 2014. O’Ban says he was unaware his per diem went up. He plans to cut a refund check for the difference.

Sen. Ann Rivers accepted $100 per day in January. She says the extra $10 a day covers her meals now that lawmakers are limited in how many free meals they can accept from lobbyists.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."