Las Vegas Sun

July 21, 2019

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Special session to cost taxpayers $50,000 per day

Sun Coverage

CARSON CITY – Opening day of the special session of the Legislature on Tuesday is expected to cost about $100,000.

And then it will cost taxpayers about $50,000 a day after that.

Gov. Jim Gibbons has called the 63 lawmakers into special session to solve an $881 million deficit facing state government.

All but 10 legislators will earn $146 per day, with those other 10 senators being paid $137 per day, which was the former rate. Their salary couldn't be raised while they were serving their terms.

Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said 10 extra employees will be hired in both the Assembly and Senate for the front desk, in addition to other administrative employees. There will be 10 extra police and janitorial workers for the session.

Malkiewich said he expects different groups to demonstrate in front of the legislative building during the session.

The reason for the higher cost on the opening day is the plane fare costs for lawmakers coming to Carson City from Las Vegas and Elko.

The state constitution limits pay for lawmakers to 20 days in a special session, but they can meet as long as it takes to complete the business.

In 2003, the first special session began June 3 and ended June 12 without agreement on a tax plan to finance the budget. Lawmakers were then called back by Gov. Kenny Guinn on June 25 and it took 27 days to reach an agreement on taxes and other issues. The 27 days was the longest special session in history.

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