And as much as cynics may doubt it, the 90-day, regular General Assembly session provides a structure for thoughtful consideration of the kinds of issues that Governor O'Malley and the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate are now trying to cram into a few days. The prolonged process of committee hearings, debates and floor votes over a three-month period provides ample opportunity for a wide variety of perspectives — from legislators, interested parties and the general public — to contribute meaningfully to the final product. Even in the marathon tax-and-gambling special session of 2007, that wasn't really the case. (Witness the ill-fated tech tax.) If Republicans choose to boycott the special session, they are taking a bad situation and making it worse.