PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota lawmakers have increased their own budget to provide extra money for travel, staff and other expenses.
As part of the state budget passed Friday, the lawmakers added $500,000 to the Legislature's existing $4.8 million annual budget. The extra money will be used to pay for legislators' travel to conferences and seminars and possibly for hiring some additional staff.
The extra money also will cover increasing the lawmakers' current expense allowance of $110 a day to $123 a day. They get that allowance during the annual legislative session.
Supporters argue that extra spending on travel and staff will help lawmakers get more information about key issues. Opponents say the Legislature should not boost its own budget when schools and other priorities have a greater need for the money.