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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Bill Would Let State Workers Keep Airline Miles Earned While Traveling On Taxpayer's Dime

Alaska Airlines

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would let state workers keep the frequent flyer miles they earn while traveling on official business. The measure passed the Senate Tuesday.

Right now, when state workers fly somewhere or stay at a hotel on official business, any frequent flyer miles or hotel points they rack up have to be turned over to the state. Those travel benefits can then be used to offset the cost of future government travel.

It seems like a great way to save taxpayer money, but the Oregon Department of Administrative Services said the hassle of keeping track of all those miles far outweighs the meager savings -- which have totaled just $15,000 over the past six years.

The agency's Rob Hamilton said the department supports the bill to let workers keep their miles and points for their own personal use.

"Senate Bill 91 eases an administrative burden on state agencies and brings it into line with private business practices, the federal government and the majority of other states,” he said.

The Senate approved the measure 21-8. It now heads to the Oregon House.