State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, said a Senate committee’s vote on Tuesday to boost the daily stipend lawmakers receive during the legislative session made her “sick to my stomach.”“I think this decision seems to reflect a disconnect between some senators and the people they say they represent,” Rivers said. “We haven’t observed a teacher COLA (cost of living adjustment) increase in years. We haven’t given COLAs to other public servants. We’re closing down parks and yet, we can pay ourselves more?”The Senate Facilities and Operations Committee voted 4-3 to approve the increase. Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, chairs the committee and cast the deciding vote in favor of increasing the per diem. The vote boosts the amount senators receive from $90 to $120 a day and increases a stipend for legislative staff by $10 a day.Rivers said she won’t accept the additional $30 a day. She added that $90 a day goes a long way, “especially when lobbyists are buying people dinners every night and every meal for some senators.”Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, had a different take. The point of a citizen legislature, she said, is to allow regular people to run for elected office.
Rivers sick to my stomach over hike in Senate per diem