Special sessions: What manner of gubernatorial power?

Document Type



A governor's ability to call the legislature into special session has been considered a potential source of gubernatorial power. There is little systematic study of this power even though anecdotal evidence exists to affirm its importance. This research investigates the changing nature of this power and its use over a 31-year period. From 1959 through 1989 there was both a diminution in gubernatorial control of this power and a steadily increasing trend toward use of special sessions. The increase can be explained by party competition-one-party states are more likely to hold special sessions of the legislature.


Balance of power; Governors; Legislative bodies; States


American Politics | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | State and Local Government Law


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