State records show that South Dakota lawmakers have increased their out-of-state travel since 2011 budget cuts. And the documents show a meeting viewed by some people as too conservative has been the top destination.
Between July and early May, the state spent about $89,000 in taxpayer money for legislative travel, 48 percent of which covered trips to the American Legislative Exchange Council's 2013 annual meeting.
Editorial pages, state Democrats and even some Republicans have protested the use of state funds for these meetings events. They say they don't consider them in the same, nonpartisan league as the National Conference of State Legislatures or the Council of State Governments
An ALEC spokesman and Republican defenders argue the group is indeed nonpartisan and the meetings are worth the investment.
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