Legislative Special Session Will Cost Alaska $600,000

Published: Jun. 7, 2017 at 8:20 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

From the beginning of statehood in 1959, to just last year in 2016, the Alaska State Legislature has had a total of 465 days of special session.

This latest overtime has the potential to bring that number to 495.

It's currently the 140th day of session in total, and the 20th day of the special session, as of June 7th.

With so many days spent outside of the standard 90-day period, and the number of special sessions seemingly increasing each year, it makes one wonder how much a special session costs.

Whether they're in the senate or the house, members of the Alaska State Legislature get a fixed income of $50,400 a year.

However, this is not the only earnings awarded to the legislature. They also receive a daily Per Diem for every day they are in session to pay for things like food and lodging.

This Per Diem given to legislatures is set by the Department of Defense and varies seasonally. The current amount is $295 dollars a day. The three politicians that represent Juneau get 75 percent of the set Per Diem. At that amount, the total Per Diem for all 60 legislature members for a single day is $17,478.75.

The Per Diem is only part of the total cost of a special session. Legislative Research Services also includes travel costs, additional staffers, as well as things like the cost of electricity and water when figuring out the total cost of a special session. On average, a special session cost $20,000 to $30,000 a day, around the same cost of a regular session day. On days where legislature members have to travel to Juneau or return home, the number jumps to a $50,000 daily average.

If the special session reaches its thirty day limit, it could cost around $600,000, like it did during last years the 4th special session.

However, even with all of these expenditures accounted for, there are even more factors that can make any session more expensive.

Tomorrow, we'll have more on the cost of a special session, as well as a look at how much money this current session is costing Alaska.