How much Alaska's state legislature special sessions cost

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) -


(App users to view the interactive data visualization, follow this link).

Capitol Building in Juneau, Alaska

Methodology:
Data is sourced from the Legislative Affairs Agency.

Data includes special session costs between the 20th Session (1997 - 1998) through the 30th Session (2016 - 2017).

The LAA lacks data that dates back to special session costs prior to the 20th Legislative Session. Missing from this chart, includes: the 3rd Legislature, the 5th Legislature, the 8th Legislature, the 11th Legislature, the 12th Legislature, the 14th Legislature, the 15th Legislature, the 16th Legislature, the 17th Legislature, the 18th Legislature and the 19th Legislature.

The agency also lacks the divided costs for the 27th Legislature's 3rd Special Session, because the data is in an old accounting system. However, there is existing data for the session's total costs.

Use the interactive data visualization, above, to:
• Examine how much time – days – law makers spent in each special session.
• Examine how much money each special session cost the state by: Single Special Session Costs, Average Daily Costs and Total Costs of all Special Sessions per Legislative Session.
• Examine how special session costs were divided by types of services: Personal Services, Travel and Per Diem and Commodity & Services.

Story:
Alaska's regular legislative sessions are supposed to last 90 days – the constitution even gives lawmakers 121 days to pass a budget – but it's not uncommon for it to go over. Use the above chart to see how much each special session cost the state, between 1997 through 2017.

According to Legislative Affairs Agency data, the 29th Legislature was the longest lasting on this list. Lawmakers spent five special sessions – 95 days – to complete their agenda. This translates to a cost of $2.3-million overall.

And speaking of overall costs, the 25th Legislature was the most expensive on record. Out of four special sessions, three cost the state over $830-thousand, each. This brought the special session grand total to over $2.7-million, within 91 days.

But not all special sessions lasted full months. A small handful of them – seven on this list – lasted a total of five days and under.

These high costs were divided among three services. And total costs of every single special session listed – called between the 20th Legislature through the 30th Legislature – amounted to:

• Personal Services: $5.27-million
• Travel and Per Diem: $6.21-million
• Commod. and Services: $209-thousand

To examine detailed costs per special session, refer to the data visualization.



 
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