Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lame-Duck Sessions Unlikely in PA Legislature, For Now

It doesn’t look like lame ducks will vote in the state Legislature this year.

Of course, that could change. House leaders say they haven’t discussed whether they would hold votes after the November election. Senate leaders have said they may call a lame-duck session for some kind of emergency.

A lot of big-deal legislative proposals remain unresolved: smaller items like updating the state’s open records law and helping distressed cities, as well as the heavier lifts that linger, like public pension overhaul and liquor privatization. If those bills don’t pass this year, lawmakers have to start over on negotiations next year.

“We don’t have a whole lot of legislative days to close things out,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). Both chambers have scheduled no more than 11 session days in September and October combined. “We have to make certain that we utilize those legislative days available really efficiently.”

Costa reiterated his hope that the Nov. 4 election marks the end of legislative business for the year.

“We continue to believe that there should not be a lame-duck session,” Costa said. “We don’t think it’s appropriate.”

Critics of lame-duck sessions say they leave room for “mischief.” They allow lawmakers who have lost their re-election bids to vote on legislation, accountable to no one.

The Senate has ruled out lame-duck sessions since 2008, but the House came back after an election in 2010. That’s how the state’s most recent public pension overhaul was passed.