State employees might get more for meals, lodging in South Dakota

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State government employees in South Dakota might see some boosts in how much they’re compensated for meals and lodging while on the job.

The state Board of Finance will decide Tuesday whether to adopt the rule changes.

If the higher amounts win approval, they face one more test.

The six lawmakers on the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee will take a look at their meeting June 3. They’ll check whether the process was right and whether the changes fit within state laws.

The governor’s budget office has estimated how much more would be spent at businesses.

South Dakota hotels, motels and other lodging establishments would see about $800,000 more per year.

South Dakota restaurants could get another $1 million a year.

The increases would also apply for work trips state employees make to places outside South Dakota. Out of state businesses could see more than $300,000.

Asking for the changes are the South Dakota Hotel and Lodging Association and the South Dakota Retailers Association.

In-state rates for lodging currently are $55 per night from September through May and $70 per night for June, July and August.

The proposed rate would rise to $75 per night throughout the year.

In-state meals would continue at $6 for breakfast. But lunch would go up, from $11 to $14, and supper would increase too, from $15 to $20.

Lodging out of state would stay at $175 per night and breakfast would continue at $10. But lunch out of state would rise, from $14 to $18, and suppers would go up, from $21 to $28.

The state board held a public hearing April 16. Two people testified, both in favor: Nathan Sanderson, executive director for the South Dakota Retailers, and Jasper Diegel for the lodging association.

The last rounds of increases for meals and lodging occurred in 2015.

The eight-person board meets monthly. By state law the members are the governor, secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, treasurer, lands commissioner and heads of the state Bureau of Administration and the Bureau of Finance and Management. They also can send representatives instead.

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