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Washington Legislature special session cost nears $30,000

Sat., Dec. 7, 2013, midnight

OLYMPIA – The tab for last month’s three-day special session to approve tax breaks for Boeing stands at $28,626 and counting, the most recent reports filed by legislators show.

Requests for the $90 per diem that legislators can claim have been processed, with some filing only for a day or two and some not requesting any. Some expense vouchers for travel to and from Olympia by senators might not come in until February

Because legislators can be reimbursed for driving expenses at 56.5 cents a mile, the biggest payments went to Eastern Washington representatives and senators, who travel the farthest. Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, received $834 total, a combination of mileage reimbursement for her 680-mile round trip and per diems for the day before and after the session traveling to Olympia added to the three days of hearings and votes.

Topping the list of Spokane-area legislators was 7th District Rep. Joel Kretz, at $750. The Wauconda Republican was reimbursed for a 690-mile round trip and received a fourth day of per diem for the trip to Olympia. Most other area representatives requested three days of per diem plus mileage.

Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, requested per diem for just two days, and with mileage received $541.60. Rep. Shelly Short, who also took two days of per diem, received $393 including mileage. Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, collected $180 for two days of per diem and didn’t claim mileage.

Sens. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, and Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, received $270 for three days of per diem and John Smith, R-Colville, received $180 for two days. None of those three has filed for mileage reimbursements.

The cost of a special session is paid out of the existing budgets for the House and Senate, legislative staff said.

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