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Session Lessons: Texas Legislature 101

Why does "the lege" convene every other year? And what is the primary goal of a session? Session Lessons breaks it all down.

DALLAS — The 87th session of the Texas Legislature began Tuesday, Jan. 12 and it’s set to end Monday, May 31.

Logistics governing the legislative session are spelled out in Article 3 of the Texas Constitution.

The article states the legislature “shall meet every two years,” and “no regular session shall be of longer duration than 140 days.”

That’s why Texas’s legislative session meets for a 140-day regular session every other year.

The session traditionally begins on the second Tuesday in January. The governor does have the power to call a special session outside of those 140 days.

Anyone who has ever lived outside of Texas knows it’s more common for a state legislative body to hold annual sessions.

But at Texas’s founding, the trek to Austin was difficult because the state is so expansive. Meeting every other year was not only easier but safer.

RELATED: The Texas legislature reconvenes Tuesday. What to expect over next 140 days, why 2 North Texas representatives will skip opening day

In addition, Texas’s founders were a little suspicious of government. So, in their eyes the fewer meetings the better.

The “lege,” as it’s often referred to, is responsible for passing bills that impact all Texans in some form or fashion, from property taxes to school funding to issues surrounding social justice.

The primary responsibility for lawmakers is passing a state budget, and members of the 87th legislative session face a difficult budgetary task.

Revenues are down and costs are up because of COVID-19.

Lawmakers have 140 days to find solutions, and the clock is now ticking.

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