Estimate: Special session cost will top $468K

JUNEAU — Estimates indicate the cost for this year’s 13-day special legislative session will top $468,000.

That figure includes some still-outstanding travel, payroll and other expenses, Jessica Geary, the finance manager for the Legislative Affairs Agency, said Wednesday.

The amount that’s been calculated so far is just over $459,000, with travel and per diem and payroll accounting for the bulk of it. Per diem, which went up earlier this year, is $238 a day for out-of-town lawmakers and $178.50 for the three lawmakers from Juneau, Geary said.

Gov. Sean Parnell called lawmakers into special session on April 18 — two days after the regular session ended — to address oil taxes and in-state gas pipeline and human trafficking bills. Only the trafficking bill passed.

Parnell’s decision to pull his floundering oil tax-cut plan from the session’s agenda led to the Senate abruptly adjourning without acting on the pipeline bill, a priority of House Speaker Mike Chenault.

The House adjourned four days after the Senate, on April 30. Leaders who had looked for ways to keep the pipeline issue in play decided they would not be able to come up with a proposal that would get the full Senate to return.

The cost for last year’s two special sessions, which lasted a combined 29 days, was more than $1 million.

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