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Does the Texas Legislature work full time?

Texas is one of a handful of states that convenes its Legislature once every two years. And in Texas, a session lasts only 140 days.


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The short answer: No. The Legislature meets for up to 140 days in every odd-numbered year. The governor can convene lawmakers for 30-day “special sessions” if they’re needed between regular sessions, but even that doesn’t guarantee legislative action.

The Texas Tribune partnered with the education publisher Pearson to answer that and other questions for Texas students. Watch the video to learn more — or read our related coverage below:

  • Texas is one of a dwindling number of states whose legislatures hold scheduled meetings only every two years. Just three other, far smaller states — Montana, North Dakota and Nevada — still have biennial legislative sessions. Lawmakers differ on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, especially for budgeting. Regardless, Texas seems unlikely to change anytime soon.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott called a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 18, 2017, and promised to make it a sweeping one if lawmakers cooperate.
  • The Texas Legislature closed out that special session amid a stalemate on property tax reform, leaving unfinished Gov. Greg Abbott's top priority.

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