Explainer: What Is The Cost Of The Special Session?

in News/Legislature

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By Ellen Fike Cowboy State Daily

The cost of the Wyoming Legislature’s special session will reach at least $125,000, according to latest state calculations.

However, the final cost breakdown will likely not be known for several weeks, according to the Legislative Service Office.

Costs for the special session will vary depending on how many members of the Legislature decide to waive the daily allowance they get to cover living expenses, which is $109 per day, and how many days they waive it and how many members participate remotely.

The payment, called a “per diem,” covers expenses such as lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses. Since some legislators live in Cheyenne or within driving distance to the Capitol, they may choose to waive their per diem for whatever reason.

Legislators must notify the LSO of their intent to waive some or all of their per diem, and much of this does not occur until the session has adjourned, the LSO explained.

However, it does cost around $25,000 per day for the Legislature to convene, which comes from the legislators’ salaries ($150 per legislator per day) and per diem.

With 90 legislators (30 in the Senate and 60 in the House), the salary pay would amount to $13,500 per day. However, since the House of Representatives has not met two days of the session, this could reduce the cost by around $18,000.

The $125,000 figure assumes both chambers will meet for at least five days, four days last week and at least once this week.

Additionally, the cost to employ the 12 part-time LSO staffers during the special session is approximately $2,000 per day, meaning the state could spend nearly $175,000 by the time the session ends, if you factor in costs from the Senate meeting for two days ($9,000 for two days) and whether the legislature adjourns on Wednesday.

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