What The Law Says

According to statute 10-2-212, reimbursable expenses must be:

old book

• Submitted and signed by the legislator each month, and
• Incurred during that calendar month
• Ordinary and necessary
• Incurred in the performance of their duties
• Within the limitations of the Arkansas Constitution
• Within the limitations of the IRS guidelines
• Within the maximum dollar amount provided by law

FACT:

  • Legislators are billing a FLAT RATE,  month-in and month-out, and with that, stating that their out-of-pocket expenses are EXACTLY THE SAME EVERY month, a highly unlikely case.
  • Legislators’ expense submissions are clearly unconstitutional (See the page “What the Constitution Says” here.
  • Legislators’ expense reimbursement claims in no way meet IRS guidelines.  They are undocumented, contain very little detail of specific expenses, and are often unaccompanied by receipts, all required by IRS guidelines.

The full text of the statute is here:

10-2-212.Reimbursable expenses.

(a)(1)A member of the Senate may seek reimbursement for legislative expenses incurred as authorized by law by filing a signed statement of expenses incurred during each calendar month. Claims for reimbursement for expenses incurred shall be filed with the Secretary of the Senate and shall be paid from the funds appropriated for such purposes for the use of the Senate.

(2)The Senate Efficiency Committee is hereby authorized to establish the method of reimbursing members of the Senate for ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the General Assembly. The committee shall determine, within the limitations of the Arkansas Constitution and Internal Revenue Service guidelines, which expenditures constitute ordinary and necessary expenses and the amount of per diem and mileage reimbursement to be paid from Senate appropriations.

(3)Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to per diem, mileage, and expense reimbursements paid from funds disbursed by the Legislative Auditor or the Director of the Bureau of Legislative Research.

(b)(1)A member of the House of Representatives may seek reimbursement for legislative expenses incurred as authorized by law by filing a signed statement of expenses incurred during each calendar month. Claims for reimbursement for expenses incurred shall be filed with the Coordinator of House Legislative Services and shall be paid from the funds appropriated for such purposes for the use of the House of Representatives.

(2)(A)The Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby authorized to establish the method of reimbursing members of the House for ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the General Assembly. The Speaker of the House shall determine, within the limitations of the Arkansas Constitution and Internal Revenue Service guidelines, which expenditures constitute ordinary and necessary expenses and the amount of per diem and mileage reimbursement to be paid from House appropriations.

(B)The Speaker of the House shall notify the House disbursing officer regarding the actions of the Speaker of the House under this subsection.

(3)Subsection (b) of this section does not apply to per diem, mileage, and expense reimbursements paid from funds disbursed by the Legislative Auditor or the Director of the Bureau of Legislative Research.

(c)Except as otherwise provided by law, the maximum amount of reimbursement for legislative expenses incurred by members of the General Assembly shall be, at the option of each member, either five thousand eight hundred twenty dollars ($5,820) per year, six thousand five hundred forty dollars ($6,540) per year, or fourteen thousand four hundred dollars ($14,400) per year.

(d) (1)Any member of the General Assembly may elect not to receive per diem and mileage payments for attending legislative sessions and for attending legislative activities and in lieu thereof be reimbursed up to an additional ten thousand two hundred dollars ($10,200) per year.

(3)(A)The election must occur prior to the fifth day of a regular session, and the election shall remain in effect until a subsequent election is made at the next regular session.

(B)However, if the maximum amount of reimbursement is altered by law, the member of the General Assembly shall make the election within thirty (30) days after the law becomes effective, and the election shall remain in effect until a subsequent election is made at the next regular session.

(e)No member of the General Assembly shall file with the House or Senate claims for reimbursement for expenses in excess of the maximum amount prescribed by law.

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