A historic legislative special session could be one step closer to becoming reality. State Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn has been leading efforts to have the Legislature call itself into session in an unprecedented move. The resolutions would allow lawmakers to address the seemingly endless state of emergency, unilateral COVID responses, and the public safety fiasco created by legislative Democrats.
Twelve Republican senators signed Fortunato’s letter to the Senate majority leader urging a procedural vote in the Senate’s Rules Committee.
“The governor is, of course, content in his undemocratic power grab, but the people we represent are not,” said Fortunato. “We have a process by which the Legislature can get into a special session along very specific parameters, and I want my Senate Democrat colleagues to be on the record supporting this autocratic takeover of our democracy. We left important work undone in the regular legislative session and the majority passed some bad policies that we are seeing the effects of. We need to reconvene and fix this mess.”
Fortunato is alluding to major spikes in crime and calls from law enforcement to fix “public safety” legislation that is seen to tie the hands of police around the state. While attempting to dismiss criticism, proponents of the reforms initially said the laws were being misinterpreted, but they now have indicated the new laws need a legislative fix.
“It’s OK to admit you’re wrong, and so far, I’ve been right about how wrong the majority’s policies would be,” Fortunato said. “We cannot wait any longer and most of my Republican colleagues agree. The Legislature should act now, and we need our Democratic colleagues to do the right thing and let the Senate Rules Committee meet and start this process.”
Under the state constitution, the Legislature has the power to call itself into session. In joint rules adopted this year by the House and Senate, the process begins with a resolution submitted to the Rules Committee.
“We hear all the time how we are living in unprecedented times. Well, now is the time to do something actually unprecedented and speak up for the citizens of this state. This nearly two-year experiment of one-man rule needs to end,” added Fortunato.
Fortunato submitted two versions of the special session resolution for consideration.