FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Babette Josephs
Josephs to reintroduce her bill to ban sine die session
HARRISBURG, June 4 – State Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., is planning to reintroduce legislation that would prohibit the General Assembly from holding lame-duck sessions.
Lame-duck, or sine die, session is the period after Election Day in November and before the end of the two-year legislative session, which is constitutionally set at Nov. 30 in even-numbered years.
"Although Republican leaders have publicly announced the General Assembly will not convene for lame-duck session this year, they have refrained from making this a permanent rule," Josephs said. "As long as the option for a lame-duck session remains, the door is left open for future lawmakers to take advantage of this period to advance their own interests ahead of those of the people.
"It is those very surprises we've experienced in the past that have earned the ire of the public and hurt the public's confidence in the entire General Assembly," she said.
Josephs' legislation would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to require the General Assembly to end its two-year legislative session by Election Day in November in even-numbered years. Exceptions to that – enabling the General Assembly to convene between the general election and Nov. 30 of even years – would be if the General Assembly or governor approves it.
Josephs said that lame-duck session can be a prime opportunity for legislators to take advantage or create abuse of the legislative process.
"Re-elected legislators have two years before they again face voters at the polls and legislators not returning can make laws without fear of voter wrath. Having this session allows them to postpone important and difficult decisions until they cannot be held accountable for them and hope that voters forget over time. It's time we make prohibition of sine die session law to ensure the General Assembly always maintains focus on its primary purpose, representing the people of the Commonwealth."
Josephs introduced this bill in 2008, where it was reported out of committee, but failed to be considered by the full House.
"Sine die" is Latin for "without a day" and is used to describe the final adjournment of the two-year session.