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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012, 12:43 p.m.

Many senators collect per diem in special session

Updated Thurs. March 22, 2012:

The number of state senators receiving per diem checks for the first week of special session is dropping.

On Wednesday, I wrote about the senators who would be getting "session subsistence" checks for the entire week.

Within hours, the content of the list began to change. Some senators took action and told the accounting office to not send them a check. Others put in for fewer than seven days.

Attached is the latest list provided by the Secretary of the Senate's Office. It looks like four senators are no longer planning to get money for the first week: Democratic Sens. Mary Margaret Haugen and Brian Hatfield and Republican Sens. Pam Roach and Andy Hill.

Haugen and Hatfield each told me Wednesday they didn't realize they would be getting a check. When they became aware, they notified the accounting office to tell them to keep the money

Also Democratic Sen. Kevin Ranker and Republican Sens. Bob Morton and Mark Schoesler requested a smaller sum.

in the meantime, information for state representatives won't be available until the end of the month.

Original post:
Though the state Senate did not meet once in the first week of the special session, plenty of its members collected per diem for those seven days.

Payouts totaling $16,830 were made to 33 senators for the period of March 12-18, according to information from the Secretary of the Senate's Office. The other 16 senators did not request any per diem.

A list of who received per diem is attached to this post.

Senators are entitled to $90 a day for “session subsistence” which covers such things as food and lodging. It can be collected for any day in a special session, including weekends. Reimbursement for mileage is covered under a different Senate account.

Twenty-one senators received the maximum of $630 for the first week, according to the records. Another dozen members sought per diem for fewer than seven days.

Not surprisingly Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane and Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla and the lead budget writers in each caucus, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, and Sen. Joseph Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, received a week's worth of per diem.

Among the senators from Snohomish and Island counties, three did not request any per diem – Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds, Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens and Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell.

Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds and Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, put in for the full sum of $630. Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, requested $360 and Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett, received $270.

State representatives also are eligible for per diem. Their requests for payment are not due until the end of the month.

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