Monday, April 14, 2008

Ban on Lame Duck Sessions Advances

A Pennsylvania House committee has advanced a bill eliminating so-called "lame duck" sessions. Those occur at the end of each two-year legislative session in the weeks following the general election. State Representative Babette Josephs of Philadelphia says some lawmakers commit "mischief" after they've been voted out or decided to retire because they feel less accountable to their constituents. She could not cite specific examples of when that's happened. But she says there's an atmosphere of reform right now in the Capitol, and her bill would be the latest addition to that effort.

Josephs acknowledges that one drawback of her bill would be that it reduces the overall number of working days at the state Capitol. She says she welcomes further discussion on where lawmakers could add days to their schedule. But she also says democracy is a slow process, and sometimes it has to be.

House Bill 1652 would require an amendment to the state Constitution, a process that requires General Assembly approval in two consecutive sessions.

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