A bill that would increase daily allowances for lawmakers who live outside the Denver metropolitan area made it though the Senate Appropriations committee today.
The measure would increase the per diem allowance from $99 to $149 with an estimated cost around $590,000 in the next two years. It’s being carried by Sen. Jack Taylor, a rural Republican from Steamboat Springs, and Rep. Kathleen Curry, a Democrat from Gunnison.
The issue was raised amid concerns that rural lawmakers were not making enough to keep up with daily responsibilities:
And while Colorado’s regular legislative session lasts only four months, many lawmakers say the job has, in fact, become full time.
“I have some place to go nearly every day on the weekends or in the off-session,” said Sen. Ken Kester, R-Las Animas, whose district is the third-largest in the state. “I’m the only senator these nine counties have, and people there expect me to meet with them.”