Table 3.2

Legislative Sessions: Legal Provisions


  Regular sessions Special sessions
  Legislature convenes  
FIPS State or other
jurisdiction
Year Month Day Limitation on length of session (a) Legislature may call Legislature may determine subject Legislature may determine length of session
01Alabama*AnnualJan.; Mar.; Feb.2nd Tues. (b); 1st Tues. (c); 1st Tues. (d)(e)30 L in 105 CNoYes (f)12 L in 30 C
02AlaskaAnnualJan.3rd Tues. (g)121 C; 90 Statutory (g)By petition, 2/3 members, each houseYes30 C
04ArizonaAnnualJan.2nd Mon.(h)By petition, 2/3 members, each houseYesNone
05ArkansasAnnualJan.(odd yrs.); Feb. (even-yrs.) (fff)2nd Mon. and Wed. (ggg)60 C (i); 30C (i)NoNoNone (j)
06CaliforniaBiennium (k)Jan.1st Mon. (d)NoneNoNoNone
08ColoradoAnnualJan.No later than 2nd Wed.120 CBy petition, 2/3 members, each houseYes (l)None
09ConnecticutBienniumJan.(odd yrs.); Feb. (even-yrs.)Wed. after 1st Mon.(m)Joint call, presiding officers of both houses with the consent of a majority of the members of each political partyYesNone
10DelawareBienniumJan.2nd Tues.June 30Joint call, presiding officers, both housesYesNone
12Florida*AnnualMar.1st Tues. after 1st Mon. (o)60 C (i)Joint call, presiding officers, both houses or by petitionYes20 C (zz)
13GeorgiaAnnualJan.2nd Mon.40 LBy petition, 3/5 members, each houseNo (p)40 L
15HawaiiAnnualJan.3rd Wed.60 L (i)By petition, 2/3 members, each house (uu)Yes30 L (i)
16IdahoAnnualJan.Mon. on or nearest 9th dayNoneNoNo20 C
17IllinoisBienniumJan.2nd Wed.None (q)Joint call, presiding officers, both houses; Governor also may callYesNone (hhh)
18IndianaAnnualJan.2nd Mon. (r)odd-61 C or Apr. 29; even-30 C or Mar. 14NoYes30 L or 40 C
19IowaAnnualJan.2nd Mon.None (bbb)By petition, 2/3 members, each houseYesNone
20KansasAnnualJan.2nd Mon.odd-None; even-90 C (i)By petition, 2/3 members, each houseYesNone
21KentuckyAnnualJan.1st Tues. after 1st Mon.even-60 L; odd-30 L (s)NoNoNone
22LouisianaAnnualMar. (even-years); Apr. (odd-years)second Mon. (even and odd-years)even-60 L in 85 C; odd-45 L in 60 CBy petition, majority, each houseYes30 C
23Maine(t)Dec.(even-years); January (subsequent even-year)1st Wed. (quadrennial election year); Wed. after 1st Tues.Calendar days set by statute (u)Joint call, presiding officers of both houses with the consent of a majority of the members of each political partyYesNone
24Maryland*AnnualJan.2nd Wed.90 CBy petition, majority, each houseYes30 C
25Massachusetts*BienniumJan.1st Wed.(v)By petition (w)YesNone
26MichiganAnnualJan.2nd Wed.NoneNoNoNone
27MinnesotaBienniumJan.1st Tues. after 1st Mon.120 LNo (x)YesNone
28Mississippi*AnnualJan.Tues. after 1st Mon.125 C (y); 90 C (y)NoNoNone
29Missouri*AnnualJan.Wed. after 1st Mon.May 30By petition, 3/4 members, each houseYes (z)30 C (z)
30Montana*Biennial-Jan.1st Mon. (vv)90 LBy petition, majority, each house (ww)YesNone
31NebraskaBienniumJan.Wed. after 1st Mon.odd-90 L; even-60 LBy petition, 2/3 members, each houseYesNone
32NevadaBiennial-Feb.1st Mon.120 CBy petition, 2/3 members, each houseYes (aa)20 C (aa)
33New HampshireAnnualJan.Wed. after 1st Tues.45 LBy petition, (xx)Yes15 L (bb)
34New JerseyBienniumJan.2nd Tues. of even yearNoneBy petition, majority, each house (cc)Yes (iii)None
35New MexicoAnnualJan.3rd Tues.odd-60 C; even-30 CBy petition, 3/5 members, each house (l)Yes (l)30 C (l)
36New York*AnnualJan. (dd)Wed. after 1st Mon.NoneBy petition, 2/3 members, each houseYes (l)None
37North Carolina(ee)Jan.2nd Wed. in Jan next after electionNoneBy petition, 3/5 members, each houseYesNone
38North DakotaBiennial-odd yearJan.1st Tues. after the 3rd day in Jan.80 L in the biennium(ccc)Yes(ccc)
39OhioBienniumJan.1st Mon. (gg)NoneJoint call, presiding officers, both housesYesNone
40OklahomaAnnualFeb.1st Mon.last Fri. in MayBy petition, 2/3 members, each houseYesNone
41OregonAnnualJan.; Feb. (iii)(iii)(ff)By petition, majority, each house (jjj)Yes (kkk)None
42PennsylvaniaBiennium (hh)Jan.1st Tues.NoneGovernor may callNoNone
44Rhode IslandAnnualJan.1st Tues.NoneJoint call, presiding officers, both housesYesNone
45South Carolina*BienniumJan.2nd Tues.(ii)By vote, 2/3 members, each houseYesNone
46South DakotaAnnualJan.2nd Tues.(lll)By petition, 2/3 members, each houseYes (jj)None
47TennesseeBiennium (kk)Jan.2nd Tues.90 L (ll)By petition, 2/3 members, each houseYes30 L (ll)
48TexasBiennial-odd yearJan.2nd Tues.140 CNoNo30 C
49Utah*AnnualJan.4th Mon.45 CYes (ddd)Yes30 C
50VermontBiennium (yy)Jan.1st Wed. after 1st Mon. (yy)NoneNoYesNone
51VirginiaAnnualJan.2nd Wed.odd-30 C (i); even-60 C (i)(tt)YesNone (mm)
53WashingtonAnnualJan.2nd Mon.odd-105 C; even-60 CBy vote, 2/3 members, each houseYes30 C
54West VirginiaAnnualJan2nd Wed.60 C (i)By petition, 3/5 members, each houseYes (l)None
55WisconsinBienniumJan.1st Mon.None(nn)NoNone
56WyomingBienniumJan.(odd yrs.); Feb. (even-yrs.)2nd Tues. (odd-years); 2nd Mon. (even-years)odd-40 L; even-20 L; biennium-60 L (mmm)Joint call of presiding officers for the purpose of resolving a challenge or a dispute of any kind in the determination of the presidential electors.Yes20 L (aaa)
11Dist. of Columbia*(oo)Jan.2nd dayNone. . .. . .. . .
60American Samoa*AnnualJan.; July2nd Mon.; 3rd Mon.45 L; 45 LNoNoNone
66Guam*(pp)Jan.2nd Mon.None (pp)Only the governor may callNoNone (pp)
69CNMI* **Annual(rr)(d)(rr)90 L (qq)Upon request of presiding officers, both housesYes (j)10 C
72Puerto Rico*Annual (rr)Jan.; Aug.2nd Mon.; 3rd Mon.5 mo.; 4 mo.NoNo20 C
78U.S. Virgin Islands*AnnualJan. (ss)2nd Mon. (ss)NoneNo, governor callsNoNone

Source:

The Council of State Governments' survey of state legislative service agencies, 2022.

Key:

* Information from The Council of State Governments’ 2020 survey of state legislative services agencies and 2021 review of state websites.
** Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
Annual — holds legislative sessions every year.
Biennial-odd year — holds legislative sessions every other year.
Biennium — holds legislative sessions in a two-year term of activity.
C — Calendar day.
L — Legislative day (in some states called a session day or workday; definition may vary slightly, however, generally refers to any day on which either house of legislature is in session).

Footnotes:

(a) Applies to each year unless otherwise indicated.
(b) General election year (quadrennial election year).
(c) In first year after quadrennial election.
(d) Legal provision for organizational session prior to stated convening date. Alabama– in the year after quadrennial election, second Tuesday in January for 10 C. California–in the even-numbered general election year, first Monday in December for an organizational session, recess until the first Monday in January of the odd-numbered year. Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands–in year after general election, second Monday in January.
(e) In second and third years of quadrennium.
(f) By 2/3 vote each house.
(g) Convening date is statutory. Length of session is 121 calendar days, 90 by statute.
(h) No constitutional or statutory provision; however, by legislative rule regular sessions shall be adjourned sine die no later than Saturday of the week during which the 100th day from the beginning of each regular session falls. The Speaker/President may by declaration authorize the extension of the session for a period not to exceed seven additional days. Thereafter the session can be extended only by a majority vote of the House/Senate.
(i) Session may be extended by vote of members in both houses. Arkansas–2/3 vote to extend up to 75 days; 3/4 vote to go beyond 75 days. Even year fiscal session may be extended one-time only by a 3/4 vote, with the extention no more than 15 C days. Florida–3/5 vote, session may be extended by vote of members in each house. Hawaii– petition of 2/3 membership for maximum 15-day extension. Kansas–2/3 vote. Virginia–2/3 vote for 30 C extension. West Virginia– may be extended by the governor.
(j) After governor’s business has been disposed of, members may remain in session up to 15C days by a 2/3 vote of both houses.
(k) Regular sessions begin after general election, in December of even-numbered year. In California, in the even-numbered general election year, first Monday in December for an organizational session, recess until the first Monday in January of the odd-numbered year.
(l) Only if legislature convenes itself. In New York, special sessions may also be called by the governor. Legislature may determine subject only if it has convened itself. In New Mexico,The governor has the sole power to call a special session, but the members of the legislature have the power to convene themselves into an extraordinary session upon certification of 3/5 of members elected to each chamber that an emergency exists in the affairs of the state. The Constitution does not limit the subjects that may be considered in an extraordinary session that is called by the legislature. However, only those subjects specified by the governor may be considered in a special session called by the governor. Special and extraordinary sessions are limited to 30 days, but an extraordinary session may be extended if an impeachment trial is pending.
(m) Not later than Wednesday after first Monday in June (odd years) or of May (even years).
(n) Adoption of a joint resolution by a majority of each house.
(o) A regular session of the legislature shall convene on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of each odd-numbered year, and on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March, or such other date as may be fixed by law, of each even-numbered year.
(p) If three-fifths of the General Assembly certifies to governor that an emergency exists, governor must convene a special session for all purposes.
(q) Constitution encourages adjournment by May 31.
(r) Legislators may reconvene at any time after organizational meeting; however, second Monday in January is the final date by which regular session must be in process.
(s) During the odd-year session, members convene for four days, then break until February. Any legislation introduced but not enacted in the first part of the session carries over to the second part in February. No bills carry over after sine die of any session.
(t) Regular session begins after general election in even-numbered years. Session which begins in December of general election year runs into the following year (odd-numbered); second session begins in next even-numbered year. The second session is limited to budgetary matters; legislation in the governor's call; emergency legislation; legislation referred to committee for study.
(u) Statutory adjournment for the First Regular Session (beginning in December of even-numbered years and continuing into the following odd-numbered year) is the third Wednesday of June; statutory adjournment for the Second Regular Session (beginning in January of the subsequent even-numbered year) is the third Wednesday in April. The statutes provide for up to two extensions of up to five legislative days each for each session.
(v) Legislative rules say formal business must be concluded by Nov. 15th of the 1st session in the biennium, or by July 31st of the 2nd session for the biennium.
(w) Joint rules provide for the submission of a written statement requesting special session by a specified number of members of each chamber.
(x) Special session is called by the governor.
(y) 90 C sessions every year, except the first year of a gubernatorial administration during which the legislative session runs for 125 C.
(z) 30 C if called by legislature; 60 C if called by governor. On both the session called by governor or legislature, it must state specifically what is to be addressed.
(aa) Legislature may determine the subject if it calls itself into special session. Special sessions are limited to 20 calendar days except in cases of impeachment of state and judicial officers or expulsion of a member of the Legislature.
(bb) Limitation is on legislative pay and mileage.
(cc) Or by joint call, presiding officers, both houses.
(dd) Session officially begins on the first Wednesday following the first Monday of the new legislative term ( commencing the first of the year), and lasts until the legislature completes its business and adjourns sine die. However, over the past several years, both houses have adopted the tactic of declaring a recess at the call of the leaders, in order to facilitate easy recall of the legislature to override vetoes, etc. Over time the custom has become to formally adjourn both houses just before the new session opens. This leads to the rather interesting convention that when the governor calls the legislature into session, it is considered "special" or "executive,"even though the regular session is ongoing.
(ee) Legal provision for session in odd-numbered year; however, legislature may divide, and in practice has divided, to meet in even-numbered years as well.
(ff) The Oregon Constitution establishes a maximum of 160 calendar days for an odd-year regular session and a maximum of 35 calendar days for an even-year regular session. Each regular session may be extended in five-day increments by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of each house. Oregon Constitution, Article IV, Section 10.
(gg) Unless Monday is a legal holiday; in second year, the General Assembly convenes on the same date.
(hh) Sessions are two years and begin on the 1st Tuesday of January of the odd-numbered year. Session ends on November 30 of the even-numbered year. Each calendar year receives its own legislative number.
(ii) The regular session ends the first Thursday in June; it can be extended with a two-thirds majority vote.
(jj) Legislators must address topic for which the special session was called.
(kk) Each General Assembly convenes for a First and Second Regular Session over a two-year period.
(ll) 90 legislative days over a two-year period. During special sessions members will be paid up to 30 legislative days; further days will be without pay or per diem.
(mm) No limitation, but the convening of the new General Assembly following an election would by operation end the special session.
(nn) The Legislature may call itself into Extraordinary Session on any subject by a majority vote of the organizing committees of each house, by joint resolution, or by a petition of a majority of each house. Only the governor may call a special session.
(oo) Each Council period begins on January 2 of each odd-numbered year and ends on January 1 of the following odd-numbered year.
(pp) Legislature meets on the first Monday of each month following its initial session in January. One legislative day or one special session day may become several calendar days. Special sessions may address only one subject.
(qq) 60 L before April 1 and 30 L after July 31.
(rr) Legislature meets twice a year. During general election years, the legislature only convenes on the January session.
(ss) The legislature convenes in January on the second Monday, March, June and September, the third Wednesday.
(tt) The Constitution provides that the governor must call a special session upon "application" of 2/3 of the members of each house.
(uu) Governor may call both houses of the legislature or the Senate alone into special session. Also, upon a 2/3 affirmative vote, the Senate may call itself into special session to consider judicial nominations.
(vv) If the first Monday falls on New Years Day, the Legislature convenes on the first Wednesday.
(ww) Majority of the total Legislature; i.e., 76 members of the combined 100-member House and 50-member Senate.
(xx) Petition filed with Secretary of State signed by not less than 50 members of House (not more than 10 from the same county) and not less than eight members of the Senate.
(yy) To confirm, the Leg. meets both years of a two-year biennium, and Reps. and Senators hold that two-year biennial term. Legislature convenes in January on the 1st Wednesday after the 1st Monday via Vt. Cons. Ch. II, sec. 7.
(zz) Session may be extended by 3/5 vote Per s. 11.011, Florida Statutes, if 20 percent of the members of the Legislature certify in writing that conditions warrant convening a special session, the Department of State shall, within seven days after receiving the required number of certificates, poll the members. Upon affirmative vote of 3/5 of the members of both houses, the Department of State shall fix the day and hour for convening the special session.
(aaa) Twenty legislative days if Legislature calls themselves. Unlimited if governor calls special session.
(bbb) No formal limitation, but legislator per diems are limited by statute to 110 calendar days during odd-year sessions and 100 calendar days during even-year sessions.
(ccc) Legislative Management may call a reconvened session if any of the constitutional 80 days remain.
(ddd) Effective January 1, 2019, the Utah Constitution was amended to authorize the Legislature to convene into a limited session if two-thirds of the Utah Senate and House members agree that convening is necessary because of a fiscal crisis, war, natural disaster, or emergency in the affairs of the state. A session called under this new constitutional provision is limited to 10 calendar days. This type of session is in addition to the regular annual general session and any special sessions called by the governor. This new type of session allows the Legislature to determine the subject, while a special session called by the governor does not.
(fff) Odd Years: Regular Session beginning January; Even Years: Fiscal Session beginning February.
(ggg) Regular: 2nd Monday in January; Fiscal: Second Monday in February in years in which the preferential primary election is held in May; and second Wednesday in April in years in which the preferential primary election is held in March.
(hhh) Only if legislature convenes itself. In Illinois Governor may call a special session and determine its subject. The Constitution does not mention limiting subjects of a special session.
(iii) Odd Numbered Years (Long Session) - First Tuesday after MLK day. Even Numbered Years (Short Session) - February 1st so long as it does not fall on a Thrusday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (Following Monday if it does). ORS 171.010.
(jjj) Oregon Constitution, Article IV, Section 10a allows the Legislature to call itself into session. The Governor may also call the Legislature into session under Article V, Section 12. Finally, Article X-A authorizes a session in the event the Governor declares a "Catastrophic Disaster." Special rules apply to sessions called for catastrophic disasters, including that the Legislature may meet remotely.
(kkk) Legislature determines subject of special session it calls. When Governor calls special session she/he must "state to both houses when assembled, the purpose for which they shall have been convened." Article V, Section 12. However, it's unclear to what extent non-related issues can be considered.
(lll) The SD Constitution states that no annual session may exceed forty legislative days in length. This was a change approved by the voters in 2008.
(mmm) Generally meet 20 and 40 days, can vary, but can't meet for more than 40 legislative days in a calendar year or 60 days per biennium.