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Not special enough

There seems to be an almost mathematical logic to legislative special sessions: The more precisely they are planned and mapped out beforehand, with goals specifically worked out and votes counted, the more likely they are to succeed. The last special sessions in Oregon and Idaho worked out well on that logic, both getting the anticipated jobs done with dispatch. The last one in Washington state (this year), though only a little hazier in intent, was just fuzzy enough in its route to completion that it took weeks longer than anyone had expected. Or wanted.

Which translates to no surprise when legislators in Oregon now have shot down the idea of a special session there, for more formal legislative review (and maybe revision) of spending cuts in the wake of revenue shortfall. Governor Ted Kulongoski, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Dave Hunt all had advised against. On one level budgeting is, yes, a legislative function. But on the other: What exactly would the legislators be attempting to accomplish? No one really knows.

In a statement out from the Oregon House this afternoon, “Oregon House members have rejected a call for a special session to begin by June 14, according to information released late this afternoon by Chief Clerk Ramona Kenady. As of 4:00 this afternoon, 34 House members had submitted ballots opposing the call for the special session. Only 17 members voted yes to come into special session. Nine others did not submit ballots and are counted as no votes.”

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