Per-diem session gets lawmakers paid for long weekend

The Sacramento BeeJanuary 17, 2014 

The Legislature just came back in session last week, but lawmakers already have their first break to look forward to: Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As a result, both the Senate and the Assembly will meet for brief, atypical Friday floor sessions at 9 a.m. before everyone heads home for the long weekend.

Not much is likely to happen, but it will allow legislators to collect their per diem allowances. Under the California constitution, lawmakers are granted tax-free living expenses on top of their salaries--as long as they are not out of session for more than three consecutive days.

According to the Assembly Rules Committee, the per diem rate was raised last month to $163 from $141.86 per day. That is still below its $173 peak from October 2008 to September 2009.

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