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Government and Politics

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

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File photo by Colin Fogarty
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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.