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North Dakota House passes bill to study lawmakers' expense reimbursements

North Dakota House passes bill to study lawmakers' expense reimbursements

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Rep. Keith Kempenich R-Bowman, holds a can of Spaghettios left anonymously at his desk in the House chamber recently. 

North Dakota's House of Representatives on Tuesday advanced a proposed study of state lawmakers' compensation and expense reimbursements.

House Bill 1424, brought by Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, passed 57-36 and goes to the Senate. The study is optional for the 2021-22 interim.

The bill was amended from a proposal to reimburse lawmakers from outside of Bismarck for meal expenses during session days, costing taxpayers an estimated $424,000.

Kempenich offered the amendment to the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee after hearing from Bismarck-based lawmakers who are at the state Capitol during lunchtime, which subsequently raised questions about hotel and other reimbursements, he said.

Fellow lawmakers began leaving cans of spaghetti on Kempenich's desk in jest after his comments to The Associated Press that he's been eating $1 cans of spaghetti for lunches after new state government ethics law curtailed lavish, lobbyist-funded meals. 

Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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