Stivers: Special session's costs to taxpayers 'insignificant' because of other committee meetings

08/20/2013 09:39 PM

The nearly two-year saga of trying redraw state Senate and House maps using 2010 Census data has cost the state several hundred thousand of dollars worth of legal fees over two different court cases.

But Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Mancheter, said taxpayers shouldn’t tack on the cost of this week’s special session to the total tab this redistricting process has racked up.

That’s because Senate and House leaders condensed all the interim committee meetings that would have occurred throughout the month into this week. Those interim committees meet between June and December for informational hearings on issues in advance of the regular sessions that begin each January. For instance, the joint Senate and House Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday will hear arguments over legalizing medical marijuana and the latest on the state’s health benefit exchange. At a nearby committee meeting, the Judiciary Committee will consider regulation of unmanned drones.

“While we’re here, the committees are meeting. So the overall cost to the state if you add it up … is going to be insignificant,” Stivers said.

He also said trying to take up the ultra-political process of redrawing district lines during this spring’s regular session could well have poisoned the environment and killed any chance for passing pension reform legislation.

“If you were to have thrown this into that mix, I do not think we would have the fix that we obtained in the last session,” Stivers said. Here’s his full answer:

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