At first glance, this would appear to be a simple answer. The maximum length of a legislative session is 140 days. Lawmakers convened at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 8, meaning the last possible day for this legislative session is May 27.
After that, members of the House and Senate return to their home districts, and—if they’re still in office—prepare for their return in 2021.
Simple—except Gov. Greg Abbott has the ability to make that timeline a bit more complicated. The governor can call a special session only when crucial legislation—like funding state agencies—is not passed in the regular session. In addition to those critical votes, often called “sunset legislation,” the governor can determine additional items to put on the agenda.
In 2017, Abbott called the first special session of his tenure in office, bringing House and Senate members back to Austin from July 18 to Aug. 15. If the legislative session were a baseball game, think of the special session as extra innings.