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Special session could cost tens of thousands per week

State Capitol staff estimate the upcoming special session could cost taxpayers at least $50,000 per week. (Garrett Bergquist/KRCG 13)

Data from State Capitol staff show the special session that starts Monday could cost taxpayers in the form of reimbursements and staff expenses.

House Chief Clerk Adam Crumbliss' office said in a release the special session will cost taxpayers about $50,000 to $100,000 per week. Lawmakers will be paid $113.60 per day, plus a mileage reimbursement of 37 cents per mile each week. This figure also includes staffing and operational costs such as paper and janitorial service.

Former House Majority Leader Gracia Backer said she was surprised to see Gov. Eric Greitens call a special session so quickly. Backer, who represented Callaway County for nearly 20 years during the governorships of Kit Bond, John Ashcroft and Mel Carnahan, said those governors always gave lawmakers some warning before they called a special session.

"Usually, when I was in the General Assembly, we had a heads-up. We're going to be looking at two months from now a month from now, a time certain," she said.

Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday called a special session over efforts to open a new steel mill in southeast Missouri. The call came after Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, castigated senators including Poplar Bluff's Doug Libla for blocking a utility rates bill. Rone said his bill would have let the mill open and replace jobs lost when the NORANDA aluminum smelter closed, but Libla told KRCG 13 on Friday Rone's bill gave utility companies such as Ameren too much leeway to negotiate their own rates. He said the Department of Economic Development already has enough authority to negotiate special rates for economic development projects.

Lawmakers gavel in at 4 p.m. Monday.

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