Some Lawmakers Could Lose Hotel Stays if Bill Passes

- ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A Maryland lawmaker says he wants to save taxpayer money by limiting hotel stays for some legislators during the Maryland General Assembly's yearly session.

Hitting the road is something Senator Allen Kittleman does every day of session when he comes from his Howard County home to the State House in Annapolis.

"I live 42 miles from Annapolis. I go home,” said Kittleman, (R) - Howard/Carroll Counties.

Kittleman thinks lawmakers who live with in 50 miles of Annapolis should do the same thing. His bill would limit their hotel stays to the last two weeks of session or when there's inclement weather.

"Why are we asking the citizens of Maryland to pay for a hotel room on a Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night that sits there vacant just so our legislators can have the convenience of leaving their clothes there?” Kittleman said.

Kittleman says the bill would save taxpayers almost $800,000 a year, but some senators say not being able to stay at a hotel could hurt their productivity.

Senator Jennie Forehand says she hopes the bill doesn't pass.

"It’s kind of difficult to drive from Rockville to be here and awake at 8 o'clock for a meeting and with all that traffic,” said Forehand, (D) - Montgomery County. 

All 188 state legislators are currently entitled to taxpayer-funded hotel rooms for 91 days.

"I think it should be an individual's decision. The constituents of that person are going to hold them accountable for what they think is right or wrong in that instance,” said Sen. George Edwards, (R-Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties).

They're allowed to spend up to $101 a day. Kittleman says that's just not right.

"Our constituents want us to go through the same traffic they go through to understand what they have to deal with, and I just think it makes us sound like we think we're better than somebody if we should be able to stay at a Marriott hotel for 90 days,” Kittleman said.

Kittleman said many lawmakers rent out their hotel room for the entire session but don't stay on weekends. He says the state could save $30,000 each weekend if they simply checked out.

According to the Department of Legislative Services, 99 lawmakers used their maximum hotel allowance in 2013.

You can read the bill by clicking here.

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