Expediting the Special Session

In a few cases either the governor and/or legislators lay the ground work for a focused special session by having draft bills in hand. The day prior to the 1946 special session, for example, the senate committees on appropriations, education, educational institutions, veterans and military affairs, and state institutions and the house committees on state institutions, veterans and military affairs, education, and appropriations met to prepare legislation on educational housing for veterans. In 1981 a juvenile crime bill was already drafted prior to the special session.

In some cases the governor will provide additional reports to help frame the deliberations. In 1875, for example, the governor provided a report on the reform school, which had burned, and on other issues relating to reform school mandates and practices. In 1933 the governor distributed a report expanding on the practice of using prisoners to manufacture goods; in 1934 he supplied a report on “anticipated liquor problems” in the wake of the repeal of Prohibition; and in 1935 a report on unemployment insurance was distributed to legislators.

Once the special session convenes the rules are usually amended to expedite legislation by amending the standing rules to eliminate the time between bill readings or certain publication/distribution requirements (the latter was particularly true in earlier special sessions when bills had to be sent out to printers and then broadly distributed). In other cases the rules were amended to allow committees to meet during the session without leave; to hold joint meetings to take testimony; dispense with printing of bills before introduction; or suspend the notice calendar. In 1944 a resolution was passed to print only one bill (the clerk’s copy) and to mimeograph all other copies.

While not specifically a measure to speed up the session, in 1975 it was proposed to cut legislative pay in half given the fiscal problems that lead to the convening of the session. The measure was defeated by the house 22 to 121.

This page was last updated: 2014-11-06