January 2nd, 2013

State Rep. Joseph Souki, who says he has the votes to become House speaker, has warned that he may attempt to extend the 60-day legislative session by one to two weeks because House Speaker Calvin Say refuses to help with the transition.

In an exchange of memos over the past several days, Souki and Say wrestled over whether lawmakers who would have new roles in a Souki-led House can move into different offices at the state Capitol.

Say reminded Souki in a Dec. 27 memo that he remains the speaker until a replacement is approved by resolution.

“Please do not assume or attempt to exercise any duties rightfully belonging to the speaker of the House,” Say wrote.

Souki, in a Dec. 28 response, said he is “truly disappointed” that Say is delaying office moves and other organizational matters.

“By taking the position that you will not authorize any transition, I will have no alternative but to extend the legislative session by one to two weeks to prevent havoc created by this delay,” Souki wrote. “I request that you reconsider and work with me to allow for a smooth opening of the upcoming legislative session.”

Souki has 26 Democrats and seven Republicans in his leadership coalition — 33 votes, seven more than necessary to control the 51-member House.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Say’s choice as his successor, has 18 votes.

Oshiro has called for Democrats to caucus as a group to help resolve the leadership dispute.

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