BOISE, Idaho — The 2021 Idaho Legislative session is nearly the longest session in state history and Idaho taxpayers will soon have to foot the bill for lawmakers' extended stay at the Capitol.
A state representative and senator's annual salary is $18,691 per year and increases slightly for leadership roles, such as Speaker of the House, assistant leaders and caucus chairs. The salary stays the same no matter how long they're in session for.
However, the price for taxpayers starts to rise with each day due to per diem costs, or price per day.
According to House Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, the legislature spends about $35,000 per day in per diem costs. The money is used for living expenses, housing and food for lawmakers.
How much lawmakers receive per diem changes on how far away they live from the Statehouse. For those who live within 50 miles of the Capitol Building, which only accounts for about a third of the state's 105 legislators, they receive $71 each day. The other 67 lawmakers make $139 per day. Plus, all lawmakers are reimbursed 58 cents per mile for their travel costs.
For the last 20 years, the average legislative session lasted about 90 days. Wednesday is lawmakers' 115th day in session this year.
So far, the 2021 legislative session has cost Idaho taxpayers an additional $700,000.
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