The Skinny: Extraordinary

Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, extraordinary legislative sessions have been anything but extraordinary.  On his first day in office in November 2003, Schwarzenegger called the Legislature into three separate extraordinary sessions. He hasn’t looked back since.  In all, Schwarzenegger has called 17 special legislative sessions since taking office in November 2003. Measures passed during a special session become law within 90 days of the end of the session, rather than at the beginning of the next calendar year.  More importantly, the sessions have become a tool for Schwarzenegger to try to set priorities for the legislative year, and get a little public attention.Last week, the governor called yet another special session to address the state’s $6.6 billion deficit in the current fiscal year. That brings the number of extraordinary sessions for the 2009-10 legislative cycle up to eight – a new record, according to Dotson Wilson, chief clerk of the state Assembly.  The previous record for extraordinary sessions within a two-year legislative cycle was five. That number was reached in 2002-03, when Gray Davis called two special sessions, and Schwarzenegger added three more on the day he took office. Gov. Culbert Olson also called five extraordinary sessions during the 1940 legislative year.

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