Leaders of the General Assembly have indicated they will hold no sine die, or “lame duck” session, in the period after the November elections and before Nov. 30, when the 2013-14 session is scheduled to come to an end.
Republicans, who control both the state House of Representatives and Senate, responded to Democratic leaders insisting they honor recent tradition by scheduling no session days after the general elections.
Historically, pay-raise votes and other controversial legislation were approved in sine die, capitalizing on the floor votes of those who won’t face voters because they lost their seats or retired.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said, “Under the leadership of Senate Republicans, there has not been a lame-duck session since 2006. I see no reason to undo this common-sense reform.”
Bill Patton, a spokesman for the House Democrats, wrote in an email that they raised the issue six months ahead of time because “knowing the fall schedule now will shape the legislative discussion.”
“If there’s no prospect of a post-election session in November, the House and Senate must plan accordingly and resolve to complete their work in a tighter time frame,” he wrote.
After a pay-raise bill in 2005 incited a firestorm of public opprobrium, legislative leaders decided against holding lame-duck sessions. But changing many of the other reforms would take votes on the House and Senate floors. House and Senate leaders only have to agree to hold sine die session days, no rank-and-file approval required.