Why have a special session on reform?
Since the call for a special session for reform, some critics (i.e. Mark Cohen and Governor Rendell) oppose the idea, while others express support, but think it won’t do any good – i.e. they could enact legislation in regular session, and there is no guarantee of success. Here are three reasons for a special session.
- Why not? No one has suggested anything bad will happen if there is a special session, only that it might not be successful. So what? A special session is like a Hail Mary in football. Time is running out, and our team is down by more than a field goal. No coach who wants to keep his job would call for a kneel down to run out the clock – which is what not calling a special session equates to.
- A special session forces lawmakers to take a stand. The only reason to oppose a special session would be to stifle any potential reform. If there is momentum to call a special session (i.e. 26 Senators and 102 Representatives signing on), then there should be momentum to enact substantive reform – such as calling a constitutional convention or initiative and referendum.
- A special session puts pressure on lawmakers to get stuff done. If no reforms are passed in the regular session, everyone can blame Governor Rendell for a busy agenda, or their legislative leaders for calling so few session days. However, few lawmakers facing re-election would want to have a special session and pass nothing substantive.