Estimate: Special Session to Legalize Gay Marriage Would Cost Just $25,800

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

A special session to consider same-sex marriage legislation is sure to be controversial. It would no doubt attract masses of testifiers, pro and con. It could well last for many hours, as has been the case for legislation on civil unions, physician-assisted suicide, the Public Land Development Corporation and genetically modified organisms.

But what about the price tag? A special session to consider same-sex marriage legislation would cost Hawaii taxpayers about $25,800.

That cost estimate, provided to Civil Beat from state House Chief Clerk Brian Takeshita, assumes that a session would last just five days. (The overall estimate was calculated based on the per diem of $175 for each of Hawaii's 24 neighbor island legislators, multiplied by five days, along with round-trip air fare of $200 per legislator. Takeshita said extra staff would not be hired for the special session.)

There could be another greater cost, though, if the legislation does not withstand legal challenges. That was the case the last time the Hawaii Legislature went into special session, when it carved out an exemption to state law so that the Hawaii Superferry could sail.

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