Despite the fact that House members worked less than one day of the special session in Austin, they will still be entitled to collect their per diem salaries for a full month’s work.
In the part-time Texas Legislature, lawmakers earn a relatively small salary of $7,200. That’s not the only cash they receive, however.
In addition to the $600 a month each legislator receives, they are also entitled to $221 in per diem each day of the legislative session, regardless of whether or not they are present—even in a special session.
Texas Scorecard has verified with Capitol sources that it appears House members will still be receiving those checks for the full month, despite the fact that they worked for less than one day of the session.
That adds up to $6,630 per member, or nearly $200,000 for the whole House.
House members are, of course, not required to cash those checks. After Texas Scorecard inquired with every House member, State Reps. Todd Hunter (R–Corpus Christi) and John Smithee (R–Amarillo) said they would reimburse the House Business Office for the extra payment. State Rep. Gary Gates (R–Richmond), meanwhile, said he would use the additional funds to pay for support staff.
Gov. Greg Abbott placed two items on the special session agenda: property tax relief and a minor border security provision. With the two chambers differing on approaches to both issues, the House gaveled out “sine die” after rushing through their version of the bills, a move meant to squeeze the Senate into accepting their proposal, while the Senate continued to meet through the last day.
Abbott is expected to call lawmakers back on Wednesday for a second special session.