Senators charge $8,460 in per diems during 3-day special session

State senators were reimbursed a combined $8,460 to cover the cost of meals and lodging during the Nov. 7-9 special session in Olympia. Lawmakers were called into the session to approve a tax break and other incentives for the aerospace industry.

November’s was the third special legislative session this year. State lawmakers, most of whom earn $42,106 a year, don’t receive an additional salary for special sessions. However, the reimbursements they get have received media attention in recent years, demonstrating the taxpayer expense associated with a special session.

Legislators are allowed to receive up to $90 a day for per diems, which cover their food and lodging expenses while on official business. Of those senators representing parts of Clark County, Don Benton, R-Vancouver, charged $180 in per diems during the special session; Curtis King, R-Yakima, took $270; and Ann Rivers, R-La Center, requested $180. John Braun, R-Centralia, and Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, requested no per diems for the special session.

Prior to the special session, Boeing Co. told lawmakers they would commit to manufacturing their 777X planes in Washington state if they received certain state incentives, and if Boeing machinists approved a long-term contract that made changes to the retirement plans of new hires and increased workers’ health care costs.

Lawmakers approved a tax break for the aerospace industry, but machinists voted against that contract on Wednesday. Boeing is now taking relocation offers from other states.

In the state House, lawmakers have more time to submit their per diem requests, so those reports are not available yet.

Stevie Mathieu

Stevie Mathieu

Stevie Mathieu is a political writer at The Columbian. Contact her at 360-735-4523 or or or

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