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Assembly recess constitutional?

After a long night with no progress to speak of on the budget, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate agree: The Assembly negotiated a flawed tax credit package when they struck their deal. Now Republican senators are demanding changes in the overall plan, which would require the Assembly to reconvene.

The Speaker's Office has already said members won't come back, no way, no how.

But can the Assembly stay away for then entire four weeks of summer recess? Maybe not.

Under Article IV, Section 7, Part D of the state Constitution, "Neither house without the consent of the other may recess for more than 10 days to any other place."

The joint rules - house procedures adopted by both houses - backs up the law of the land. "This recess shall not commence until the Budget Bill is passed."

Assembly spokesman Steve Maviglio says the rule is unenforceable.

"The constitution also says we are required to have a budget by June 15th -- that's the one that the holdout Senate Republicans need to focus on instead of making excuses for their failure to do what Assembly Democrats and Republicans have done by passing a balanced budget that has the support of the governor and Senate Democrats. The legislative counsel has opined in the past that this provision is (inapplicable) and unenforceable," Maviglio said in an e-mail.

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