Zurik: State lawmakers adjourned for 49 days due to COVID-19 and were still paid

Updated: May. 7, 2020 at 5:33 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - State lawmakers collected nearly $1,000,000 in per diem payments for the legislative session in March and April, even though they were never there.

The Spring session of the Louisiana Legislature adjourned abruptly on March 16 as the COVID-19 outbreak was unfolding across the state. Both the House and Senate resumed meetings of both chambers on Monday, May 4. Some committees did hold meetings near the end of the adjournment, but the bodies as a whole did not return until May.

In March and April, members of the State House and Senate received their daily $161 in per diem. That payment represents $100 for lodging and $61 for meals in Baton Rouge.

In April alone, that means each lawmaker received $4,500 for being in Baton Rouge, even though they were not in session.

We reached out to House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Senate President Page Cortez for comment on the per diem payments.

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