Why does the Texas Legislature only meet every other year? Managing Editor Joe Lanane explains:
The Texas Legislature operates under a biennial system, meaning state elected officials convene at the Capitol once every two years. The regular session begins at noon the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years, and the session lasts a maximum of 140 days.
The governor can also call special 30-day sessions to pass laws he or she specifically sets on the agenda. Such sessions in recent years have typically occurred in June as an extension of the regular session.
Texas is one of only four states—Montana, Nevada and North Dakota being the others—to not schedule a regular legislative session every year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Despite some efforts in recent years to increase the frequency with which the state Legislature meets, most Texas public officials have embraced the idea of meeting less.
The state constitution requires only that lawmakers pass a two-year budget each biennial legislative session.