The Vermont Legislature

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Special Sessions..

           In Vermont the power to call for a special session of the General Assembly rests with the Governor. Chapter II Section 20 of the Vermont Constitution says in part: “…and shall have power to call together the General Assembly, when necessary, before the day to which they shall stand adjourned. …” Section 780  (2) of Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure  says: “In issuing a call for a special session of the legislature, the Governor may confine legislation to the subjects specified in the governor’s proclamation.”  However Senate rule 91 excludes Mason’s rule 780 and as shown in the following special sessions it has been the custom & practice of the General Assembly to allow consideration of any matter once the legislature convenes in special session.

 
2005

            Governor James Douglas called a special session for the purpose of removing certain language from the fiscal year 2006 budget dealing with labor negotiations at the Vermont State Colleges. The call for the session was dated June 8, 2005, the session lasting one day (four hours)  June 16, 2005. The session convened at 9.30 A.M. and adjourned at 1.20 P.M. The House rules of the 2005 regular session were adopted except that all bills or resolutions introduced required approval of the Rules committee. Two bills were introduced and passed, H-1 removing certain language from the 2006 appropriations bill and H-2 granting a tax credit to certain wood product manufacturers. A joint resolution to study certain issues at the Vermont State Colleges was also adopted. The Governor did not appear before the House. Gaye Symington of Jericho was Speaker and Brian Dubie of Essex was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 2005, special session pages 1 through 16 at end of volume.

 
1993

            Governor Howard Dean called a special session for the purpose of restoring the sales tax from four to five percent. The call for the session was dated July 16, 1993, the session lasted two days, July 20 and July 21, 1993. A temporary rule was adopted requiring  rules committee approval for introduction of all bills and resolutions. The Governor appeared before the House. One bill (H.1) restoring the sales tax to five per cent was introduced and passed. Ralph Wright of Bennington was Speaker and Barbara Snelling of Shelburne was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1993, special session pages 1 through 40 at end of volume.

 
1983

            Governor Richard A Snelling called a special session to deal with the 1983 fiscal year budget deficit. The call for the session was dated July 8, 1983, the session lasted from July 19, 1983 to July 27, 1983. Rules were adopted to restrict the introduction of bills. Six bills were introduced and two (H-1 dealing with expenditures & H.6 dealing with increased revenues)  were passed. There were five Committees of Conference on H.6. The Governor spoke before a Joint Assembly and appeared before the House at the conclusion of the session. Stephan A. Morse of Newfane was Speaker and Peter Smith of Middlesex was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1983, pages 867 through 950.

 
1981

            Governor Richard A. Snelling called a special session to deal with changes in  juvenile crimes. The call for the session was dated July 8, 1981, the session lasted two days, July 15, 1981 & July 16, 1981. No rules were adopted for the special session. One bill (H.1) dealing with juvenile crimes was introduced and passed. The Governor appeared before the House at the conclusion of the session. Stephan A. Morse of Newfane was Speaker and Madeline M. Kunin of Burlington was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1981 pages 1079 through 1115.

 
1975

            Governor Thomas P. Salmon called a special session to deal with a budget deficit. The call for the session was dated September 10, 1975, the session lasted 3 days, September 29, 1975 & October 15 & 16, 1975. No rules were adopted for the special session. The Governor spoke before a Joint Assembly. One bill (H.1) dealing with expenditures and revenues was introduced and passed. Timothy J. O’Conner Jr. of Brattleboro was Speaker and Brian D. Burns of Burlington was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1975, pages 927 through 992.

 
1966

            Governor Philip H. Hoff called a special session of the newly elected Senators and Representatives. These members were elected pursuant to the reapportionment bill enacted in the 1965 session. There was no stated purpose in the Governor’s call. The call for the session was dated December 8, 1965, the session lasted 66 days, from January 5, 1966 to March 12, 1966. The usual rules of procedure were adopted. In reality this was the first full annual session of the 150 member House. 156 House bills and 27 Senate bills were introduced.  Richard W. Mallary of Fairlee was Speaker and John J. Daley of Rutland was Lieutenant Governor. See separate special session volume for 1966.

 
1964

            Governor Philip H. Hoff called a special session, there was no stated purpose in the Governor’s call. The call for the session was dated January 10, 1964 and lasted 46 days, from January 27, 1964 to March 13, 2004. This was a forerunner of the “Adjourned Sessions” we have today. There were 63 House bills and 13 Senate bills introduced. Franklin S. Billings of  Woodstock was Speaker and Ralph A. Foote of Middlebury was Lieutenant Governor. See separate special session volume for 1964.

 
1962

            Governor F. Ray Keyser Jr. called a special session for the purpose of reapportionment of the Vermont Senate. The call for the session was dated July 23, 1962, and lasted 16 days from July 25, 1962 to August 9, 1962. There were 3 House bills and 5 Senate bills introduced. Two of the bills dealt with reapportionment of the Senate, the rest dealt with other matters. Five of them were enacted into law. The Governor appeared at a joint assembly. Leroy E. Lawrence of Stamford was Speaker and Ralph A. Foote of Middlebury was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1961, special session pages 1 through 91 at end pf volume.

 
1946

            Governor Mortimer R. Proctor called a special session for the purpose of providing educational housing facilities for veterans and other students in the state and to provide additional funds for the construction of state institutional buildings. The call for the session was dated September 17, 1946, the session lasted three days September 26, 27 and 28, 1946.There were 19 House bills and 5 Senate bills introduced. Five of the bills dealt with matters in the Governor’s call and the rest dealt with other matters. Nineteen of the bills were enacted into law. The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. Joseph H. Denny of Northfield was Speaker and Lee E. Emerson of Barton was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1947, pages 907 through 977.

 
1944

            Governor William H. Wills called a special session for the purpose of allowing members of the armed forces to vote in primary and general elections. The call was dated March 4, 1944, the session lasted four days March 15 through 18, 1944. There were 10 House bills and 1 Senate bill introduced . All 11 were enacted into law Two bills dealt with the Governor’s call. The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. Asa A. Bloomer of Rutland was Speaker and Mortimer R. Proctor of Proctor was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1944 & 1945 pages 3 through 52.

 
1941

            Governor William H. Wills called a special session for “the immediate enactment of special legislation for the relief of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College” The call was dated August 21 1941, the session lasted seven days September 10 through 16, 1942. There were 8 House bills and 3 Senate bills introduced. One bill dealt with the purpose of the call, the rest dealt with various other matters. Five were enacted into law. The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. Lee E Emerson of Barton was Speaker and Mortimer R. Proctor of Proctor was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1941 and 1943 pages 3 through 39.

 
1940

            Governor George D. Aiken called a special session to allow a special primary election for United States Senator to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Senator Ernest W. Gibson. The call was dated July 17, 1940, the session lasted 1 day July 24, 1940. One House bill and 3 Senate bills were introduced. One bill dealt with the purpose of the call, three dealt with other matters. Two were enacted into law. The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. Oscar E. Shepard of Hardwick was Speaker and William H. Wills of Bennington was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1940 & 1941 pages 622 through 652.

 
1936

            Governor Charles M. Smith called a special session for the immediate enactment of an unemployment compensation act. The call was dated December 11, 1936, the session lasting 2 days December 21 and 22, 1936. One bill relating to Vermont Employment Service was introduced and enacted into law. The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. Ernest E. Moore of Ludlow was Speaker and George D. Aiken of Putney was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1937 (also special sessions of 1935 & 1936) pages 1415 through 1462.

 
1935

            Governor Charles M. Smith called a special session for the immediate enactment of certain laws. The call was dated November 26, 1935, the session lasted nine days, December 10 through December 14, 1935 and January 21 through January 24, 1936. Fifty-two House bills and nine Senate bills were introduced. Fifty-one bills were enacted into law. The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. Ernest E. Moore of Ludlow was Speaker and George D. Aiken of Putney was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1937 (also special sessions of 1935 & 1936) pages 1245 through 1412.

 
1934

            Governor Stanley C. Wilson called a special session enacting liquor control legislation. (The national constitutional prohibition had been repealed). The call was dated April 12, 1934, the session lasting 2 days April 18 and 19, 1934. Twelve House and one Senate bill were introduced. Nine bills were enacted into law and one was the subject of a “pocket veto”. One bill dealt with the Governor’s call and twelve dealt with other matters. The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. George D. Aiken of Putney was Speaker and Charles M. Smith of Rutland City was Lieutenant Governor. See house journal of 1934 & 1935 pages 1123 through 1178.

 
1933

            Governor Stanley C. Wilson called a special session to enact legislation to provide co-operation between the state and federal governments for certain public works projects. The call was dated July 15, 1933, the session lasted one day July 19, 1933. Fifteen House bills were introduced and enacted into law. One dealt with the purpose of the call and the rest dealt with various matters. The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. George D. Aiken of Putney was Speaker and Charles M. Smith of Rutland City was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1933 pages 1033 through 1089.

 
1927

            Governor John E. Weeks called a special session to deal with the repair of bridges and roads damaged by the 1927 flood. The call was dated November 17, 1927, the session lasted one day November 30 , 1927. Eight House bills and two Senate bills were introduced and enacted into law. Two dealt with flood repairs and the rest with various matters.  The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. Loren R. Pierce of Woodstock was Speaker and S. Hollister Jackson of Barre City was Lieutenant Governor. Mr. Jackson was unable to preside over the Senate as he died in the flood of November 3, 1927 on his way home. See House journal of 1927 pages 719 through 774.

 
1916

            Governor Charles W. Gates called a special session to provide extra compensation to Vermonters serving in the armed forces and aid to their families. The call was dated August 16, 1916, the session lasted two days August 24 and 25, 1916. Four House bills and two Senate bills were introduced and enacted into law. Three bills dealt with the purpose of the call and three dealt with elections. The Governor appeared before a joint assembly. John E. Weeks of  Middlebury was Speaker and Hale K. Darling of Chelsea was Lieutenant Governor. See House journal of 1917 pages 999 through 1029.

 
1898

            No information is yet available about the 1898 special session.

 
1891

            No information is yet available about the 1891 special session.

 
1875

            Governor Ashel Peck called a special session to deal with fire damage at the reform school in Waterbury and appropriate funds for construction of a building in Vergennes. The session convened on January 13, 1875 and adjourned Saturday January 16, 1875 at 6 A.M. The rules of the last regular session were adopted, Seven bills were passed and signed by the Governor Only 2 of which dealt with the stated purpose in the call. Josiah Grout was Speaker and Lyman G. Hinkley Lieutenant Governor.

 
1867

            Governor Paul Dillingham called a special session. The session convened on March 27, 1867 and adjourned on March 29, 1867 at 8 A.M. The rules of the last session were adopted. 17 bills were passed and signed by the Governor dealing with various unrelated matters. John W. Stewart was Speaker and Stephen Thomas Lieutenant Governor.

 
1865

            Governor J. Gregory Smith called a special session to ratify the slavery amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The slavery amendment was ratified and 3 bills passed, 2 dealing with pay for the members and one for a change of venue in certain cases. John W Stewart was Speaker and Abraham B. Gardner Lieutenant Governor.

 
1861

            Governor Erastus Fairbanks called a special session. The session convened March 23, 1861 and adjourned on March 27, 1861 at 2.10 A.M. 14 bills and 2 resolutions were passed. 9 of the bills dealt with raising a militia to fight in the civil war and 5 dealt with other matters. Agustus P. Huntington was Speaker and Levi Underwood Lieutenant Governor

 
1857

            No information is yet available about the 1857 special session.