Travel RestrictionsTalking Points

The $120 per day lodging reimbursement limitation in SB 1180 is exceedingly low. It will prohibit attendance at most professional training events, seminars, and conferences, many of which are necessary to maintain required professional certifications and designations.  

The prohibition on foreign travel is extreme and will stifle trade and economic development opportunities. Foreign travel by most municipal officials and employees is rare, but there are circumstances when it is necessary and may yield substantial public benefit. Examples: municipal insurance/reinsurance; trade and economic relations with Central and South America and the Caribbean.  

The bills are unduly punitive. The 24-hour reimbursement limitation provides no exceptions for reasonable contingencies such as flight cancelations. 

The bills are inexplicably discriminatory in application. The bills do not impose these requirements and conditions on state elected officers or employees. The House bill was amended to exclude elected county constitutional officers. Why are city and county elected officials being singled out? What travel processes are in place for state officers and employees, or county constitutional officers, that would justify this exclusion?

The bills require duplicative reporting of travel reports (once to the local body and again to the local or state ethics body). The state Ethics Commission is not equipped to store or manage travel expense reports. This requirement is simply collecting paperwork for the sake of collecting paperwork – it serves no public purpose or benefit.

Existing municipal travel authorization, approval and reimbursement processes have appropriate accountability mechanisms. If current processes are insufficient for some reason, changes should be proposed that can be easily integrated into current processes instead of layering on additional and parallel processes that may yield little public benefit.