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When Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, took the helm a couple of years ago, he decided to save public money by restricting each member of the Senate to a single out-of-state trip a year.

The result was a travel expenditure of $38,300 in 2010 compared with $91,000 in 2007.

But some members of the Senate felt their travel to national meetings such as the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) were important enough that they continued going — and paying their own way.

Most prominent among those self-funded travelers has been Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo. Waddoups points out that Bramble's work with the NCSL, CSG and ALEC, plus his role in the national Streamlined Sales Tax Committee dealing with a uniform tax structure for online sales, has taken him out of state for meetings more than a dozen times a year.

Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-Bountiful, also travels extensively to work on national committees, as does Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan.

Waddoups, too, spends his own money on numerous legislative leadership conferences throughout the year.

But Bramble is the king of the Senate in self-funded national legislative-related travel, which Senate staffers say helps the state.

Bramble just completed a three-year stint on the NCSL executive committee and has been asked to allow his name for nomination as national president. He serves on two NCSL task forces — one on immigration and one on telecommunications taxes. Bramble and Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, serve on the governing board of ALEC, which helped land that organization's national convention in Salt Lake City, attracting more than 3,000 members. Utah's affiliation with NCSL helped bring its convention to Salt Lake City, along with 7,000 visitors.

Niederhauser also is called out of state for his work as chairman of ALEC's Tax and Fiscal Policy task force. Some of the trips are covered through scholarship money from the host organizations, but some also is paid by the senators themselves.

Like Bramble, Liljenquist spends thousands from his campaign account on trips around the country because he has become nationally recognized as an expert on public retirement and pension reform. He sponsored pension reform legislation in the 2010 legislative session that now is being used as a model around the country.

He advises 10 states on pension reform, as well as the State Policy Network, a coalition of conservative think tanks.

That takes him out of state about 15 times a year, which also takes him away from his business.

Hillyard's higher education expertise has taken him to Denver and Tucson. He also spent a week in Chicago, working as a member of the Uniform Law Commission.

So, although the taxpayer-supported travel has been cut back, saving tens of thousand of dollars, some lawmakers keep sharing their expertise on their own time and dime, often from campaign funds. And Utah often benefits.