Final House per diem report released
Southwest Washington lawmakers from the 49th, 18th and 17th Legislative Districts accepted a combined $4,590 in per diem during the last half of the 31 days of special sessions in Olympia.
The per diem covers living expenses, such as lodging and meals.
Financial officials with the House say the chamber will not seek any extra state money to cover the per diem costs during the special sessions. Instead, they will get creative and find the money within the House’s own budget.
Gov. Chris Gregoire called the special session primarily so a small group of lawmakers could continue to figure out the state’s supplemental operating budget — something they could not agree on during the regular 60-day legislative session that ended March 8. Lawmakers are given up to $90 a day to cover certain living expenses incurred during the special session.
Here are the totals accepted by each lawmaker for the last 16 days of the special sessions, according to state records released last week:
Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, took 14 days of per diem, which totaled $1,260, as well as a $112 vehicle mileage reimbursement.
Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, accepted the maximum allowance each day, which totaled $1,440.
Rep. Ed. Orcutt, R-Kalama, got six days of the allowance, equaling $540, and an additional $157 mileage reimbursement.
Rep. Tim Pobst, D-Vancouver, accepted no per diem.
Rep. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, received $540 for six days, as well as a $188 mileage reimbursement.
Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, accepted $810 for nine days, and a $110 mileage reimbursement.
During the first 15 days of the special session, Moeller accepted the maximum per diem allowance, while Harris, Orcutt, Probst, Rivers and Wylie took no per diem.
Those first 15 days of the special session were “pro forma,” meaning no voting or legislative action took place. Instead, Democratic and Republican legislators involved in the budget process and the governor met privately. Lawmakers were called back to Olympia later in the session.
State Senate and House members are offered an annual salary of $42,106 and are provided with the $90-a-day per diem when on state business.