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Senate’s Murray opposes lame-duck session 

Credit:  State House News Service, www.boston.com 24 September 2010 ~~

Senate President Therese Murray put the brakes on thoughts of a postelection session this year, saying earlier this week that even if voters approve a massive sales tax cut on Nov. 2, the response would be up to the new Legislature, which will be seated in January.

“That would be up to a new Legislature, certainly not a lame-duck Legislature,’’ she said, adding that there would be little lawmakers could do in the two months between the election and the start of the next legislative session, which begins the first Wednesday in January.

An initiative petition on the ballot would cut the state sales tax rate from 6.25 percent to 3 percent, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Asked if she would support a lame-duck session, Murray quickly responded no.

After repeated requests for comment over three days, a spokesman for House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo declined to comment.

Some lawmakers had previously speculated that the Legislature could convene in a postelection session to deal with the expanded gambling proposal that stalled when formal sessions ended in July. Lawmakers also need to deal with a wind turbine siting bill that Murray favors but has been unable to get a necessary final Senate vote during informal sessions, when a single member can block any proposal.

Legislative rules prohibit formal sessions after July 31 in an election year, a provision intended to prevent campaign season chicanery or lame-duck sessions. A majority of members in the House and Senate may opt to suspend the rules and meet in a special session, but each item on the agenda would require a two-thirds vote of support to come to the floor, a level that could prove insurmountable for some bills.

Lawmakers may also adopt an order during informal sessions to call for a special session, but such an order requires unanimous consent of members to come to the floor.

Source:  State House News Service, www.boston.com 24 September 2010

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