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Difference between revisions of "State legislative sessions"

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Revision as of 14:09, 18 February 2014

AlabamaAlaskaArizona
ArkansasCaliforniaColorado
ConnecticutDelawareFlorida
GeorgiaHawaiiIllinois
IllinoisIndianaIowa
KansasKentuckyLouisiana
MaineMarylandMassachusetts
MichiganMinnesotaMississippi
MissouriMontanaNebraska
NevadaNew Hampshire
New MexicoNew Jersey
New YorkNorth Carolina
North DakotaOhioOklahoma
OregonPennsylvaniaRhode Island
South CarolinaSouth Dakota
TennesseeTexasUtah
VermontVirginiaWashington
West VirginiaWisconsinWyoming
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Features of State Legislatures

Party dominance in state legislatures2012 Session TopicsStanding committees analysis for 2011-2012 sessionLength of terms of state representativesHow vacancies are filled in state legislaturesStates with a full-time legislatureState legislative chambers that use multi-member districtsState legislatures with term limitsComparison of state legislative salariesWhen state legislators assume office after a general electionPopulation represented by state legislatorsState constitutional articles governing state legislaturesState legislative sessionsResign-to-run laws


This is a list of session guidelines for all 50 state legislatures.

Alabama State Legislature

Section 48 of Article IV of the Alabama Constitution initially set the rules for the timing and length of the Legislature's sessions. However, these rules have been changed by state statute.

The Alabama Legislature convenes in regular annual sessions on the first Tuesday in February, except during the first year of the four-year term, when the session begins on the first Tuesday in March. In the last year of a four-year term, the legislative session begins on the second Tuesday in January. The length of the regular session is limited to 30 meeting days within a period of 105 calendar days. There are usually two meeting or "legislative" days per week, with other days devoted to committee meetings.

The Governor of Alabama can call, by proclamation, special sessions of the Alabama legislature. The governor must list the subjects on which legislation will be debated upon. These sessions are limited to 12 legislative days within a 30 calendar day span. In a regular session, bills may be enacted on any subject. In a special session, legislation must be enacted only on those subjects which the governor announces on their proclamation or "call." Anything not in the "call" requires a two-thirds vote of each house to be enacted.[1]

Bills can be prefiled before sessions, starting at the end of the previous session and ending at the beginning of the session for which they are being filed. The exception to this is for sessions beginning in March every 4 years.[2]

The Alabama Legislature has a constitutional session length limit of 105 calendar days.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through April 4.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included creating a new budget, a pay raise for teachers, Common Core and banning legislators from serving as lobbyists immediately following their departure.[3]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from February 5 to May 20.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included the general fund, maintaining Medicaid, raises for teachers, giving schools more flexibility over state policies, and gun laws.[4] Heading into the session, the general fund was estimated to be $200 million short of requests.

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in regular session from February 7 to May 16. It held a special session from May 17-24 to address redistricting.[5]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from March 1-June 9.[6]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 12th to April 12th.

Gubernatorial vetoes

Unlike other state legislatures, where gubernatorial vetos require a two-thirds or even a three-fifths majority vote to be overridden, the Alabama legislature has the power to override a veto with a simple majority vote in both houses. The legislature also has the constitutional power to override line item vetos by a simple majority. This has led to contention in recent years between the governor's Office and the legislature.

Role in state budget

See also: Alabama state budget

By February 5th of each year, the Legislature of Alabama receives an annual budget proposal from the Governor. The annual budget proposal is for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1st. The Legislature then revises this budget over the course of the next couple of months. Sometime between February and May, the Legislature votes on a budget. For a budget to pass, a majority of legislators must vote in support of it.[7]

The Legislature has had difficulty passing a balanced budget. In fiscal year 2010, Alabama faced a projected $1.2 billion budget gap.[8]

Alaska State Legislature

Section 8 of Article II of the Alaska Constitution contains provisions relating to the timing and length of sessions. However, the provisions related to the convening date of the Legislature have been changed by law, and the provisions limiting the length of legislative sessions have been changed by the Alaska 90-Day Legislative Session Amendment. This amendment was passed in a 2006 ballot initiative, and it limits the regular sessions of the Legislature to ninety days.

Section 9 of Article II allows for special sessions to be called by the Governor of Alaska or by a two-thirds vote of the legislators. Special sessions are limited to 30 days.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 21 to April 20.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include education, the state budget, high energy prices and a natural gas pipeline.[9]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 15 to April 14.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included oil tax reform, state agency performance reviews and a budget for fiscal year 2014.[10][11]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in regular session from January 17 to April 15. It was in special session from April 15 to April 30.[12]

Major issues

Legislators took up Governor Sean Parnell's (R) suggestion to decrease the oil tax in order to increase economic growth. They also considered a ban on texting while driving, education funding, the state's unfunded pension liability, and whether to extend the legislative session from 90 to 120 days.[13]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 18 to April 17. Lawmakers remained in Juneau from April 18 to May 14 to resolve ongoing disagreements over the state's operating budget; the final compromise included money for a new in-state natural gas pipeline and a $20 million payout to the state's schools.[14]

A second special session was held from June 27 to 28 to discuss reauthorization of the state's Coastal Management Program, which was set to expire June 30. Measures to reauthorize the program failed during the regular session.[15] The program ended on schedule after the House failed to pass a Senate proposal to save it.[16]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 19th to April 18th.

Arizona State Legislature

Article IV of the Arizona Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 3 of the Second Part of the Article contains the relevant provisions. It states that sessions are to convene on the second Monday of January of each year.

Section 3 also allows the Governor of Arizona to call special sessions of the Legislature.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 13 to May 1.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include student success-based K-12 funding, university funding.[17]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 to June 14.

Major issues

Losing super-majorities in the House and Senate, Republicans no longer wielded the same level of power and compromises were more likely. Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said her legislative priorities included education standards and simplifying the state's transaction privilege tax.[18]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in regular session from January 10 through May 3.[19]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from January 10 through April 20.[20] Three special sessions were called in Arizona for 2011. The first special session was convened on January 19, addressing requests for a federal Medicaid exemption. A second special session was called by Governor Jan Brewer on February 14, 2011. The special session will run in tandem with the regular session, and was convened to consider business tax cuts as part of an economic development package proposed to add jobs by encouraging businesses to expand and relocate in Arizona.[21] The third special session was convened on June 10 to extend unemployment benefits. The session lasted two days, and ended on June 13 without a vote on Governor Brewer's proposal. Brewer refuses to call another special session until lawmakers support the unemployment extension.[22]

Session highlights

In the 2011 session, Arizona fixed its $1.5 billion shortfall by eliminating $1.1 billion in spending. There were no new taxes instated to help with the reductions, only tax cuts. The legislature sliced the corporate income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 4.9 percent.[23]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in regular session from January 11th to April 29th. The Legislature was convened in special session from February 1st-11th.

Arkansas General Assembly

Article V of the Arkansas Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to convene. Section 5 of Article V establishes the beginning date for regular sessions, but this date has been changed by law (as Section 5 allows). Under the law, the Arkansas legislature convenes its regular session on the second Monday in January of every odd numbered year. The fiscal session is convened on the second Monday in February of every even numbered year.[24]

Section 17 of Article V limits the length of sessions to sixty days, unless extended by a two-thirds vote of each legislative house.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from February 10 to March 20.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included private option Medicaid expansion and a $5 billion proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. Due to a 2008 constitutional amendment, sessions held in even-numbered years may only address financial matters.[25]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 to May 17.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included an agreement on expanding the Medicaid program by providing private insurance for low-income residents, a two percent increase in per-student funding for public schools and a bill that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls.[26] During the first budget negotiations of the year, the Joint Budget Committee rejected a pay increase for elected officials.[27]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from February 13 to March 13.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 to April 27.

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly convened for its Fiscal Session, meeting from February 8th to March 4th.

California State Legislature

Article IV of the California Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 3 of Article IV states that the Legislature is to convene in regular session on the first Monday of December in each even-numbered year to organize. The Legislature must adjourn by November 30th of the following even-numbered year.

Section 3 also provides the Governor of California the power to call special sessions of the Legislature.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 6 to September 30.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include the biennial budget, prison overcrowding and water bonds.[28]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from December 3, 2012 to September 13, 2013.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included property taxes for education and tax breaks for students.[29]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 4 to August 31.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature will be in session from January 3- September 9, 2011. The California Legislature was convened in an extraordinary session to act upon legislation that addresses the fiscal emergency proclaimed by Governor Jerry Brown on January 20, 2011.[30]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature began its regular session on January 12th, and was scheduled to adjourn on August 31st. Additionally, the legislature adjourned one special session on January 11th of this year, had one ongoing special session that convened in October of 2009, and had another ongoing special session that convened on January 8th, 2010.[31]

On July 28th, 2010 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a declaration of fiscal emergency[32][33] as allowed under California's Constitution as approved in 2004 under proposition 58. Upon issuance of a declaration of fiscal emergency, the legislature must immediately reconvene and may not adjourn until after the fiscal situation is resolved.

Colorado General Assembly

Article V of the Colorado Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 7 of Article V states that the Assembly is to convene its regular session no later than the second Wednesday of January of each year. Regular sessions are not to exceed one hundred twenty calendar days.

Section 7 also states that the Governor of Colorado can convene special sessions of the General Assembly. Special sessions can also be convened by a two-thirds vote of the members of both legislative houses.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 to May 7.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include packages of bills for flood relief and wildfire mitigation.[34]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to May 9.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included gun control, immigration reform, election reform and the enactment of laws to regulate and tax legal marijuana.[35]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 11 to May 9. A special session began May 14.[36]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 12 through May 11.

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 13th to May 12th.

Connecticut General Assembly

Article III of the Connecticut Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 2 of Article III states that, in odd-numbered years, the Legislature shall convene its regular session on the Wednesday after the first Monday in January. Section 2 requires regular sessions in odd-numbered years to adjourn by the Wednesday after the first Monday in June.

The Constitution does not establish when the Legislature is supposed to meet in even-numbered years, so these dates are established by law. In even-numbered years, the Legislature convenes on the Wednesday following the first Monday in February, pending the decision of the Legislature, and it must adjourn by the Wednesday after the first Monday in May.[37]

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from February 5 to May 7.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include the biennial state budget, gun control, mental health, police training and creating the Office of Early Childhood.[38]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to June 5.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included restrictions on gun ownership, an increase to the minimum wage, labels on genetically modified foods, and the ability for illegal immigrants to apply for driver's licenses.[39]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from February 8 to May 9.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 5 through June 8. Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy convened both houses in a special session to address budget cuts on June 30.[40]

Session highlights

Tax increases

During the 2011 legislative session, the legislature passed $1.5 billion worth of tax increases strongly pushed by Governor Dan Malloy to help close a budget gap estimated at $3.3 billion. Individual and corporate income tax rates rose, along with inheritance, alcohol, cigarette and gasoline levies. Additionally, the retail sales tax rate from 6% to 6.35%. The Republican legislative minority strongly criticized Malloy and Democratic leaders, calling their plan a "massive and unnecessary tax hike."[41]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from February 3rd to May 5th.

Delaware General Assembly

Article II of the Delaware Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 4 of Article II states that the General Assembly is to convene on the second Tuesday of January of each calendar year, and it is not to extend beyond the last day of June.

Section 4 also allows the General Assembly to be convened into special session by the Governor of Delaware or by the mutual call of the presiding officers of both Houses.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through June 30.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include raising the minimum wage, gun control, the 2015 budget, campaign finance and the economy.[42]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to July 1.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included gun control, gay marriage, and budgetary problems.[43]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 through June 30.

Major issues

Legislators focused more on economic rather than social issues this session, including reforms to Medicaid and addressing the budget deficit.[44]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 11 through June 30.

Session highlights

State employee benefit cuts

Governor Jack Markell's plan to cut public employee pension and health benefits received overwhelming support from officials within his administration, legislators and even public employee union officials. Markell's proposal, which became law on May 2, 2011, requires new state employees to pay 5% of their salary after the first $6,000 towards their pension, rather than 3%. It also eliminates the use of overtime when calculating pensions and the "double state share" health care benefit. According to the governor's office, the plan will save Delaware taxpayers $130 million over the next five years and $480 million over the next fifteen.[45][46]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 12th to June 30th.

Florida State Legislature

Article III of the Florida Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 3 of Article III states that the regular session of the Legislature is to convene on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of each year. Regular sessions of the Legislature are not to exceed sixty days, unless extended by a three-fifths vote of each house.

Section 3 also allows for the convening of special sessions, either by the proclamation of the Governor of Florida or as otherwise provided by law.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from March 3 through May 2.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include creating a new budget using an $850 million surplus, a package of $500 million in tax cuts called for by the governor, Common Core and Medicaid expansion.[47]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from March 5 to May 3.

Issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included ethics and election reforms, gambling laws, Medicaid, sales tax and unmanned drone use by law enforcement.[48][49]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through March 9.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from March 8 through May 6.

Session highlights

In 2011, the legislature reduced government spending and avoided raising taxes. Spending was reduced by $1 billion from the previous year, and $4 billion less than in 2006. Florida also removed 14,000 businesses from corporate tax income rolls. Areas that spending was cut included education and social programs. The legislature removed funding from a veteran's homeless support group, reduced payments to social workers by 15 percent, and spent $2.5 billion less on education than the previous year.[50]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from March 2nd to April 30th.

Georgia General Assembly

Section 4 of Article III of the Georgia Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to meet in regular session. The General Assembly must convene annually by the second Monday in January, and its sessions can last for only forty legislative days.[51] Prefiling begins November 15 and runs until the start of the session.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 13 through March 21.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included moving up the state primary date to match the federal one, the state budget, and increases to K-12 education funding.[52]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 to March 29.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included juvenile-justice reform, regulation of coin-operated video games, ethics reform and a budget that was previously facing a $700 million deficit.[53]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 9 through March 29.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 10 through April 14.[54] Governor Nathan Deal called the legislature into special session for August 15 to consider congressional and legislative redistricting plans based on the 2010 census.[55]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 11th to April 29th.

Hawaii State Legislature

Article III of the Hawaii Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 10 of Article III states that the Legislature shall convene in regular session on the third Wednesday in January of every year. Regular sessions are limited to sixty legislative days, but they can be extended by fifteen days by the Governor of Hawaii or by the request of two-thirds of each legislative house. Section 10 mandates that the Legislature take a mandatory recess of at least five days during each regular session.

Section 10 also contains provisions regarding special sessions of the Legislature. Special sessions can involve both houses of the Legislature or the Senate alone. Special sessions can be convened by the Governor of Hawaii or by two-thirds of the house or houses seeking to convene. Special sessions are limited in length. They are not to last more than thirty legislative days, but they, like regular sessions, can be extended for fifteen days.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 15 through May 1.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include GMO labeling, raising the minimum wage, clean energy and climate change.[56]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 16 to May 3.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included revenue, hotel room tax, GET increase, education funding, and renewable energy tax credits.[57]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 18 to May 3.

Major issues

The legislature focused on job creation, creating a sustainable economy, sustainable and renewable energy, improving the state's information technology infrastructure, and education funding.[58]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 19 through May 5.

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 20th to April 29th.

Idaho State Legislature

Article III of the Idaho Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session; section 8 of Article III allows the Legislature to change the starting date by law. According to 67-404 Idaho Code, the Idaho Legislature convenes annually at 12:00 noon on the Monday closest to the 9th of January. Section 8 also states that the Governor of Idaho can convene special sessions of the Legislature at any time.[59][60]

The Idaho Legislature normally convenes at the Idaho State Capitol in downtown Boise.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 6 through March 21.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included $350 million worth of educational improvements, the state-based health insurance exchange passed in 2013 and prison reforms.[61]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 7 to April 4.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included the creation of a state-controlled health exchange, school reform, business tax breaks and ethics rules.[62]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through March 29.

Major issues

Legislators considered setting up a state-based health care exchange as required under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Conservative legislators opposed to the law sought to set up a public-private ownership as a compromise, rather that risking the federal government setting up one on the state's behalf. The budget and public education reform were also major issues.[63]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through April 7.[64]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 11th to March 29th.

Illinois General Assembly

Article IV of the Illinois Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 5 of Article IV states that the General Assembly will convene its regular session on the second Wednesday of January.

Section 5 also creates rules for the convening of special sessions. The section allows the Governor of Illinois to convene the General Assembly or the Senate alone. When the Governor calls a special session, the General Assembly can generally only deal with matters related to the purpose of the session, as stated by the Governor's proclamation of the session, but they can also deal with impeachments or confirmation of appointments. Section 5 also allows the presiding officers of both houses of the General Assembly to convene a special session through joint proclamation.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 29 through May 31.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include the pending expiration of a temporary income tax, corporate tax incentives, Chicago pension reform and capital construction.[65]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to May 31.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included regulation of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, concealed carry, same-sex marriage, and pension reform.[66][67][68][69]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 11, meeting throughout the year.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 12-June 1. A special session was called by Governor Pat Quinn to settle disputes regarding Illinois construction projects on June 22, 2011.[70]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 13th to May 7th.

Indiana General Assembly

Article 4 of the Indiana Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 9 of Article 4 states that the General Assembly will begin its regular session on the Tuesday following the second Monday in January of each year. However, Section 9 allows the starting state for the session to be changed by law. This has happened in Indiana in 2010, as the General Assembly's session convened on January 5th instead of the constitutionally designated date, which was January 12th. The session must adjourn by April 29 in odd numbered years and March 14 in even numbered years.[71]

Section 9 also gives the Governor of Indiana the power to call special sessions of the General Assembly.

Bills may be pre-filed in the Senate thirty days prior to the start of the session.[72] House filing begins on the opening day of the session.[73]

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Assembly was in session from January 6 through March 14.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, elimination of the state tax on business equipment and education reforms, including whether or not Indiana should continue participating in "Common Core."[74]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Assembly was in session from January 7 to April 29.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included education funding, utility bills, riverboat gambling, and regulation of how much pseudoephedrine individuals can buy annually.[75]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 4 through March 14.

Major issues

Main issues included "Right-to-work" legislation, a statewide smoking ban, a tax raise to finance a mass transit system, and eliminating the state's inheritance tax.[76] The issue at the heart of the matter was "right-to-work" legislation that Republicans long said would be their top priority in 2012. The legislation sought to ban companies and unions from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to pay union dues. Republicans argued the move would bring jobs to the state while Democrats said it would lead to lower wages.[77]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 5 through April 29.

Session highlights

In the 2011 session, the Indiana legislature reduced the corporate income tax from 8.5 to 6.5 percent, spread over four years.[78]

Clerical error

On June 30, the state's largest agency, the Family and Social Services Administration, was accidentally eliminated, due to a major clerical error during the drafting of legislation related to the Family and Social Services Administration. The Administration helps more than a million people access Medicaid and food stamps in Indiana.[79]

According to the AP, "Senate Bill 331 was intended to repeal a provision already in law that would have automatically eliminated (the Family and Social Services Administration) - called a sunset. The sunset language was set for June 30. The bill that repealed the sunset provision went into effect July 1, so technically, FSSA was eliminated minutes before the bill intended to save it went into effect."[79]

The mistake was noticed days after the new law went into effect, and caught many welfare recipients and legislative leaders off guard. On July 7, Governor Mitch Daniels signed an executive order on Thursday, July 7, to correct the mistake.[79]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 5th to March 12th.

Iowa General Assembly

The Legislative Department of the Iowa Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 2 of the article states that the General Assembly is to convene its regular session on the second Monday of January of each year. The General Assembly can also be called into special session by a proclamation of the Governor of Iowa or by a written request of two-thirds of both houses of the General Assembly.

Bills may be pre-filed for the senate between odd year and even year sessions.[80]

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 13 through April 22.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include cutting the state income tax, increasing the gas tax and a minimum wage increase.[81]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 to May 23.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included education reform, providing healthcare for low-income and other uninsured residents, and a tax relief package that sought to lower property taxes.[82]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 9 to May 9.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 through July 1. The legislature was in an extended session due to concerns on how to reduce commercial property taxes. House Republicans favored a 25 per cent reduction in commercial property tax rates, while Senate Democrats proposed a tax credit that would be paid directly to the owners of the commercial properties.[83] During the extended session, legislators did not receive per diem. Iowa legislative rules allow lawmakers to receive per diem for a maximum of 100 days in even numbered years, and 110 days in odd numbered years. The 110th calendar day of the 2011 session was April 30. The rules may be amended at any time to extend the legislative session.

Session highlights

Budget

Iowa ended its 2011 fiscal year with $54.5 million in revenue collections above estimated figures, an increase of 6 percent over fiscal 2010. The 6 percent increase was one percent higher than expected.[84]

As a whole, Iowa collected $329.3 million more in revenue than it did last year. Last year's overall total revenue is still not yet known, due to the continuing flow of expenses or revenue collections that can be attributed to fiscal year 2010. To account for this, the books will remain open until September, as is customary for the state.[84]

School funding

A brief tussle over state spending on public schools ended in compromise, with Democrats agreeing to a Republican-proposed 2 percent increase in spending (equivalent to about $60 million) for FY 2012. The Senate approved the plan by a vote of 26-19 and the House by 56-39. Though Democrats had originally asked for a 3 percent overall increase in funding, they secured an extra $24 million for preschool programs in exchange for their support for the Republican plan.[85]

No property tax reform

Lawmakers failed to agree on reforms to the state's property tax system. House Republicans called for across-the-board property tax cuts, while Democrats sought to limit tax concessions to small businesses. Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal said the Republican plan "favored tax breaks for giant corporations."[85] Republicans countered that "all property taxpayers in the state of Iowa deserve relief."

Iowa collects commercial property taxes based on 100 percent of a property's assessed value, a considerably higher level than in neighboring states; in Missouri, for instance, taxes are only calculated based on 33.3% of a property's value.

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 11th to March 30th.

Kansas State Legislature

Article 2 of the Kansas Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 8 of Article 2 states that the Legislature is to convene on the second Monday of January of each year. Section 8 also limits the length of regular sessions in even-numbered years to ninety calendar days, but it allows these sessions to be extended by a two-thirds affirmative vote of both houses. In 2010, this kind of extension occurred, moving the session's adjournment date from March 30th to May 28th.

Bills may be pre-filed between sessions in odd years and sessions in even years for consideration during the following sessions.[86]

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 13 through May 30.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include school funding, changing the state's court nomination system and Medicaid expansion.[87]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 to June 20.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included school funding, a settlement between tobacco companies and the state, mental health funding, KanCare, illegal immigration, pension system changes, shifting taxes to the local level, and liquor sales.[88]

Drug testing

Legislation introduced in the state house and state senate would bring punitive measures against drug users receiving government benefits if there is "reasonable suspicious" drug use exists. The measures would apply to both welfare recipients and Kansas lawmakers, although the legislation is unclear as to what would happen if a legislator tested positive for narcotics.[89]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was scheduled to be in session from January 9 through May 14. However, due to infighting among Republicans, the session had to be extended through the 20th. Major issues which remained unresolved included education funding, state employee pension reform, redistricting and the budget. Gov. Sam Brownback (R) stated, “I think it’s reasonable for people to say they should have gotten things done in 90 days. My hope is that they wrap it up here pretty soon.”[90]

Major issues

Alongside the budget, legislators considered reforming the school financing formula and expanding Medicaid's managed care system.[91]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 10-June 1, 2011.

Session highlights

Business tax deductions

In the 2011 session, the legislature allowed "expensing," a way for businesses to receive larger tax deductions for start-up costs such as new equipment and software.[92]

School funding

In July, state revenue officials forecast a revenue surplus of at least $175 million for FY 2011 (July 2010-July 2011), a pleasant windfall for policymakers that had cut $800 million out of the FY 2012 budget not six months ago. In response, state education administrators petitioned lawmakers to restore some of the funding for schools that was eliminated as part of Governor Sam Brownback's austerity measures.

Board of Education member Sue Storm was pessimistic about the prospect of reversing the cuts, which saw aid to Kansas public schools drop about $232 per pupil in the 2012 fiscal year. Others argued the board should ask for only a percentage of the funds back as a way to improve relations with austerity-minded legislators. Given the Republican legislative majority had proposed eliminating the state's corporate income tax entirely in the 2011 session, a measure that would cost the states about $200 million annually, House Majority Leader Paul Davis saw little reason to substantial increases in funding. He also noted the funding increases would need to be approved during the 2012 session in the midst of an election campaign, when legislators would continue to advocate for tax cuts.[93]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature's regular session was scheduled to last from January 11th to March 30th. However, the session was extended, and it did not adjourn until May 28th.[94]

Kentucky General Assembly

Section 36 of The Legislative Department of the Kentucky Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is required to meet. Regular Sessions convene on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January. Sessions in odd numbered years can last no more than 30 legislative days and must be concluded by March 30. Sessions in even numbered years can last no more than 60 legislative days and must be concluded by April 15. The governor may call additional special sessions.[95]

Bills may be filed at anytime the House and Senate Clerks' offices are open.[96]

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 7 to April 15.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include the biennial state budget, casino gambling, tax reform based on the recommendations of 2012 commission and raising the minimum wage.[97]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to March 26.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included reforms to the states tax code, pension plans for governmental retirees, legalization of casino style gambling, and redistricting.[98]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through April 9.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 4 through March 9, and reconvened for a special session on March 14. The session was called to an early end by Senate President David Williams on March 9, 12 days sooner than the originally scheduled end date of March 22.[99] On March 9, Governor Steve Beshear called to re-convene on March 14 for a special legislative session, focused on balancing the state's Medicaid budget.[100] The House adjourned the special session on March 25,[101] however, the Senate returned on April 6, adjourning the special session the same day.[102]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 5th to April 15th.

Louisiana State Legislature

Article III of the Louisiana Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 2 of Article III states that, in even-numbered years, the Legislature shall convene on the last Monday in March and meet for no more than sixty legislative days during a period of eighty-five calendar days. In odd-numbered years, the Legislature is to convene on the last Monday in April and meet for no more than forty-five legislative days during a period of sixty calendar days. During regular sessions in odd-numbered years, the Legislature can only consider measures regarding the state budget, revenues, and appropriations.

Section 2 of Article III also allows the Legislature to be called into a special session by the Governor of Louisiana or by a majority of the members of each legislative house. During special sessions, the Legislature can only legislate on matters related to the proclaimed purposes of the session.

Section 2 of Article III also authorizes the Governor of Louisiana to call an emergency session without prior notice in the event of a public emergency.

Bills may be prefiled at any time, except between when the legislature adjourns for an election and when the election results are certified.[103]

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from March 10 through June 5.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include Common Core, education funding, Medicaid expansion, the coastal erosion lawsuit filed by the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East and the legalization of medical marijuana.[104][105]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from April 8 to June 6.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included the state budget, an overhaul of public education, increasing the retirement age of public workers, gun control, and abortion.[106]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from March 12 through June 4.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from April 25 through June 23. The Legislature was in a special session regarding the census and redistricting from March 20-April 15.[107]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from March 29th to June 21st.[108]

Maine State Legislature

Article IV, Part Third of the Maine Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 1 of the Part states that, following a legislative election, the Legislature is to convene its first regular session on the first Wednesday of December. The second regular session of the legislature is to convene in the next even-numbered year. This second session is to convene on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in January. Section 1 also instructs the Legislature to enact statutory limits on the length of its regular sessions.

Section 1 also establishes the procedures for convening special sessions of the Legislature. A special session can be convened by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, with the consent of a majority of legislators from each political party.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 through April 16.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include Medicaid expansion vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage (R) last session and welfare reform.[109]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from December 5, 2012 to July 10, 2013.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included addressing education, energy, domestic violence, jobs and strengthening the state's economy, and a new two-year budget that's facing a $128 million deficit.[110]

Election of constitutional officers

The Maine House of Representatives voted 79-59 on June 4 to reject a proposal to allow voters to select the state’s Treasurer, Secretary of State and Attorney General. LD 1279 called for a referendum to amend the Maine State Constitution to shift the selection of these officers from the Legislature to voters.[111] The bill sponsored by Representative Andre Cushing (R) called for two-year terms for the Treasurer and Secretary of State and a four-year term for the Attorney General. Legislators currently select all three officers every two years. This legislation was blocked on June 3 by the Maine State Senate 18-16.[112]

The House and Senate votes largely followed party lines with Democratic majorities in both houses. Republican majorities in the House and Senate blocked similar legislation in 2011.[113][114]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 4 through April 14, was in recess from April 14 through May 13, and adjourned May 31.

Major issues

Lawmakers faced a $221 million budget deficit. They also looked to restructure the state Medicaid system, reduce energy costs and improve charter schools.[115]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from December 1, 2010-June 28, 2011. Maine statutes required the legislature to adjourn by June 15, however, pursuant to Joint Order S.P. 520, the regular session was extended for five legislative days, slated to end on June 22, 2011.[116] On June 16, Governor Paul LePage ordered lawmakers home for 12 days, only to return to the statehouse for a special veto session to begin June 28.[117]

The all-GOP legislature and Republican Governor Paul LePage agreed on a fiscal year 2012 budget late in the session, with LePage signing the final bill on June 20. Legislators moderated the governor's demands for deep fiscal austerity, but the final deal still cut taxes by $150 million, lowering the top income tax rate from 8.5% to 7.95% and taking 70,000 low-income citizens off the income tax rolls entirely. It also put Dirigo Health, an "experiment in near-universal health care, on the chopping block; Dirigo, passed in 2004, will be phased out entirely by the beginning of 2014. LePage's first budget also cut welfare programs including benefits for legal noncitizens and limited participation in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to five years. The governor, who has promised to enact deeper spending cuts in the future, suggested the changes would help Maine move away from its reputation as a "welfare destination state."[118]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 6th to April 12th.

Maryland General Assembly

Article III of the Maryland Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 14 of Article III states that the General Assembly is to convene in regular session every year on the second Wednesday of January.

Section 14 also contains the procedures for convening extraordinary sessions of the General Assembly. If a majority of the members of each legislative house petition the Governor of Maryland with a request for an extraordinary session, the Governor is constitutionally required to proclaim an extraordinary session.

Article II of the Maryland Constitution also gives the Governor of Maryland the power to proclaim an extraordinary session without the request of the General Assembly. Sessions last for 90 continuous days but can be extended for up to 30 days by vote of the legislature.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 to April 7.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include addressing the state's minimum wage, emergency health insurance, marijuana legalization and tax relief.[119]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to April 8.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included an assault weapons ban, boosting the state's wind power industry, repeal of the death penalty, and transportation funding.[120]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 11 through April 19.

2011

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 12 through April 11.[121] A special redistricting session is planned for week of October 17, however an exact date is not yet known.[122]

2010

In 2010, the Maryland General Assembly was in session from January 13th to April 12th. [123]

Massachusetts General Court

The Massachusetts Constitution contains provisions regarding when the General Court is to meet. This subject has been the focus of several amendments to the Constitution. Originally, Chapter 1 of the Massachusetts Constitution called for the General Court to convene on the last Wednesday of May. Then, Amending Article X called for legislative sessions to convene yearly on the first Wednesday of January. Later, Amending Article LXXII called for the General Court to meet once every two years, but Amending Article LXXV repealed that amendment. Therefore, the rules that currently govern when the General Court is to meet are in Amending Article X.

Article X calls for the General Court to convene its regular session on the first Wednesday of January. The session does not dissolve until a new regular session convenes in the next year. Article X specifies that it does not prevent the General Court from meeting at any time that it judges necessary.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Court will be in session from January 14 through January 6, 2015.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include the minimum wage, unemployment insurance reform, gun control and assisted suicide.[124][125]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Court was in session from January 2 to December 31.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included revenue shortfalls, transportation financing, gun control, and health care costs.[126]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Court was in session starting January 4 through July 31, but informal sessions may take place throughout the year.

Major issues

Leading the agenda was a crackdown on abuses at special education collaboratives in the state. Other issues included controlling health costs and a sentencing bill that would bar parole for prisoners convicted of more than two violent crimes.[127]

In August 2012, Sen. Mike Rush (D) and Rep. Ed Coppinger (D) released a record of legislative accomplishments from the session. Among the major policy items successfully addressed, they note the passage of balanced FY 2012 and 2013 state budgets, a health care cost containment bill, strategic economic development legislation, and the legalization of casino gaming.[128]

2011

In 2011, the General Court will be in session from January 5 through a date not yet decided by the Legislature.[129]

2010

In 2010, the General Court convened its session on January 6th, and it remained in session throughout 2010.[130]

Michigan State Legislature

The Michigan Legislature, according to Article 4 Section 13 of the Michigan constitution, must convene by noon on the second Wednesday in January. The Legislature is at liberty to choose when to adjourn, though all bills carry over into the next session.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 through December 31.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include allocation of an estimated $971 million surplus over three years, which Republicans says should go towards a tax break.[131][132]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to December 31.

Major issues

After a extremely divided lame-duck session in December 2012, lawmakers are expected to have a tamer session. Major issues include the regulatory structure of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, increased transportation funding, education reform, and pension changes.[133]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 11 though a date yet to be determined.

2011

In 2011, the Legislature will be in session from January 12 through mid December. A specific date is yet to be decided by the Legislature.[134] The 348 calendar days that the Michigan Legislature is in session during 2011 is the longest legislative session in the country.[135]

Session highlights

Tax reform

In the 2011 session, Michigan was a key battleground on corporate taxes. Governor Rick Snyder had made promises during his campaign to eliminate the “Michigan Business Tax,” which was costly and difficult to calculate. Governor Snyder delivered, replacing the tax with a flat 6 percent corporate income tax. The state will recover the $1.8 billion in lost business tax revenues with $1.5 billion in higher personal income tax revenues. Current Michigan law requires the state income tax to drop to 3.9 percent by 2015. Governor Snyder's measure keeps the income tax rate at its current 4.35 percent until January 1, 2013, when it will drop to 4.25 percent. During 2011, Michigan also became the first state in more than 50 years to cut state-level unemployment benefits.[136]

Snyder was also able to secure a controversial measure to extend the state's income tax to pensions, a move the governor said would bring $343 million in new revenue during the coming fiscal year. Public employees, who stand to lose about $90 million of the $343 million total, reacted with outrage. The Michigan State Employees Association promised to file a lawsuit to block the pension tax provision, arguing that taxing state employee pensions violated the constitutional prohibition against "impairing or diminishing a vested public pension." Snyder beat employees to the punch, asking the state supreme court to issue an advisory opinion on the issue by October 1.[137]

2010

In 2010, the Legislature convened its session on January 13th, and it remained in session throughout the year.[138]

Minnesota State Legislature

Article IV of the Minnesota Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 12 of Article IV states that the Legislature is not to meet in regular session for more than 120 legislative days in each two-year period between legislative elections. Section 12 also does not allow the Legislature to meet in regular session after the first Monday following the third Saturday in May of any year. Within these limits, Section 12 allows the Legislature to decide its meeting dates by law.

As such, MN Statute 3.011 establishes that on odd numbered years the legislature must convene on the first Monday in January, unless that lands on January 1, in which case the legislature must convene by the first Wednesday after the first Monday. The legislature is required to set its own date for even numbered years.

Section 12 of Article IV state states that the Governor of Minnesota can call special sessions of the Legislature on extraordinary occasions.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from February 25 through May 19.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include passing a bonding bill, how to use a projected $800 million surplus, heating costs, the minimum wage and bullying.[139][140]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to May 20.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included a tax bill, establishing a health care exchange, same-sex marriage, education funding, gun control, and oil fracking.[141]

Tax increase

A bill designed to generate $2.1 billion in new revenue passed the Senate 36-30 and the House 69-65 on May 20, 2013. Governor Mark Dayton signed the tax bill into law on May 23, 2013. This legislation sponsored by Senator Rod Skoe and Representative Ann Lenczewski increases cigarette taxes by $1.60 per pack and creates a higher income tax rate for upper-income earners. The bill creates a tax rate of 9.85 percent for individuals earning $150,000 per year and couples earning $250,000 per year. Increased revenue will be used to fund an expansion of the Mayo Clinic, assist in building a new football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings and fill a $627 million budget deficit.[142][143]

Critics of the tax increase expressed concerns about negative impacts on the state economy. "The bill says the state can spend your money better that you can. This is not a good bill. We are going in the wrong direction. We should be looking at how we can decrease the tax burden," argued Representative Kelby Woodard.[142] Representative Bob Barrett argued against the income tax increase for upper-income earners. "We will now have the fourth-highest income tax rate in the country, and when you look how far down the ranks it goes we are second highest. That will have an impact on our economy, especially since we have border states with lower taxes," said Barrett.[142]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 24 to May 10.

2011

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 4 through May 23.

Session highlights

Government shutdown

Minnesota's 2011 legislative session was marked by a 20-day government shutdown that saw state parks and highway rest stops shuttered, 22,000 state employees laid off, road construction projects stopped and, perhaps worst of all, beer vendors unable to restock their product due to expired state licenses.[144] The shutdown, Minnesota's second in six years, resulted after Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled legislature failed to agree on a budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal biennium. Dayton demanded $1.8 billion in new revenues in the form of new taxes on the state's high earners, while Republicans insisted the state's $5 billion budget deficit be made up solely through spending cuts. As a result, with the exception of some critical services, Minnesota's government officially shut down when the previous fiscal year's budget expired on July 1.

Ultimately, the conflict ended in compromise. In an agreement signed on July 20, Dayton agreed to give up his request for tax increases, while Republicans were forced to agree to $1.4 billion more in spending than they wanted. Commentators on both sides criticized the deal, under which a significant portion of the deficit was funded by borrowing or withholding aid payments to school districts. The lack of a long-term solution to Minnesota's persistent budget problems means that legislators, in the absence of significantly improved revenues, can expect to see the problem recur during the next budget-making session in 2013.

During the shutdown, a minor controversy surrounded 138 legislators who continued to accept pay during the shutdown after 62 of their colleagues and Governor Mark Dayton refused to do so. Ultimately, 65 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of Republicans chose to cash their checks.[145]

2010

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from February 4th to March 17th.

Mississippi State Legislature

Article IV of the Mississippi Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to meet. Section 36 of Article IV states that the legislature is to convene in regular session on the Tuesday following the first Monday in January of each year. Section 36 limits the length of regular sessions to ninety calendar days, except for once every four years when the regular session can last up to one hundred twenty-five calendar days. The most recent one hundred twenty-five day session was in 2008, and the next session of this kind will be in 2012.

Section 36 also allows the Legislature to extend its sessions for thirty days by a two-thirds vote of both legislative houses. There is no limit on the number of times a session can be extended in this way. In 2010, the Legislature extended its session once, moving the date of adjournment from April 3rd to May 3rd.

Article V of the Mississippi Constitution gives the Governor of Mississippi the power to call the Legislature into extraordinary session. Section 121 of Article V enumerates this power.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 7 through April 3.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included Common Core, Medicaid expansion, teachers' pay and prison sentences.[146][147][148]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to April 7.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included creating a budget, charter schools and Medicaid expansion.[149]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through May 3.[150]

2011

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 4 through April 7.[151]

2010

In 2010, the Legislature was originally scheduled to be in session from January 5th to April 3rd. However, the session was extended to May 3rd. Additionally, a special session was held that convened on April 22nd and adjourned on April 23rd.[152]

Missouri General Assembly

Article III of the Missouri Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to meet. Section 20 of Article III states that the General Assembly shall convene its regular session on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January of each year.[153] Section 20(a) requires the General Assembly to adjourn its regular session by May 30th.[154]

Section 20(b) of Article III also allows for a special session of the General Assembly to be convened by a joint proclamation of three-fourths of the members of both houses.[155]

Pre-Filed bills may be filed in the House as early as December 1 of the year prior to the session and in the Senate as early as July 1 of the year prior to the session.[156]

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions'

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 through May 30.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include Medicaid expansion, tax cuts and reform, student transfers and right-to-work.[157][158][159]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to May 30.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included tax credits, capital improvements, an income tax cut, and a major revision to the state's criminal code.[160]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 4 through May 30.[161][162]

Major issues

The budget was the main focus of the session, as the state faced a $500 million spending gap in January. The agenda at the start of the session also included economic development, Workers Compensation reforms, and overhauling public school funding.[163] Those items joined health care exchanges, birth control, charter schools, and sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine crimes as points of contention and accomplishment over the course of the session.[164]

2011

In 2011, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 5 through May 30.[165] Governor Jay Nixon called for a special legislative session for September 6, however, the session was called off when Republicans hesitated on a push to overhaul state tax credits and authorize several new incentive programs, including one for a China freight hub in St. Louis. Assembly members were sent home so that they might read the revised 219-page measure over the weekend. According to Senate President Pro Tem Robert Mayer, the "important" bill "needs the attention of every member of this body."[166]

Session highlights

Budget cuts

Lawmakers passed a $23.3 billion budget for the 2012 fiscal year in May 2011, representing a $500 million spending cut compared with the previous year. Governor Jay Nixon cut an additional $172 million through "withholds" and $30,000 using his line-item veto before signing off on the budget plan. Withholds are an exercise of the governor's veto authority, but can be restored to the budget if revenues become available.

Education and culture were the big losers in the budget plan, with state universities and community colleges absorbing an average 7 percent cut in state support, and funding completely cut for state arts, public TV and radio programs. The General Assembly itself saw its budget cut by 4.6 percent, while spending on the Missouri Housing Development Corporation housing assistance program was halved.

Still, some programs did see substantial funding increases, including school bus transportation (21 percent), two state higher education scholarships (7 percent) and aid to service providers catering to people with developmental disabilities (2 percent). A new pharmacy partnership between Missouri State University and UMKC was also instituted, receiving $2 million in funding.[167]

2010

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 6th to May 14th.[168][169]

Montana State Legislature

Article V of the Montana Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 6 of Article V states that the Legislature is to meet in every odd-numbered year in a regular session of at most ninety legislative days. However, Section 6 allows any Legislature to increase the limit on the length of any subsequent session. Section 6 also allows for the Legislature to meet in special session when convened by the Governor of Montana or when a special session is requested by a majority of the Legislature's members.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will not hold a regular session.

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 7 to April 27.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included economic development, increased natural resource development and reforms to how the state funds education.[170]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was not in regular session.

2011

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through April 28.[171]

2010

In 2010, the Legislature was not in session.[172]

2009

The 61st session of the Montana legislature convened on January 5, 2009 and adjourned on April 25, 2009.

Nebraska State Senate (Unicameral)

Article III of the Nebraska Constitution establishes when the Senate is to be in session. Section 10 of Article III states that the Senate is to convene annually on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January. In odd-numbered years, regular sessions are limited to ninety days. In even-numbered years, regular sessions are limited to sixty days. Sessions in any year can be extended by a four-fifths majority of the Senate.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 through April 1.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include tax cuts, capital punishment, same-sex marriage and electronic cigarettes.[173]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to June 5.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included addressing a projected $194 million budget shortfall, and increased state aid to the University of Nebraska system and state colleges.[174]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 4 through April 18.

Major issues

At the top of the list for the legislature was reforming the state's child welfare system, while Governor Dave Heineman's priorities were job creation and maintaining fiscal discipline.[175]

2011

In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 5 through June 8.[176]

2010

In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 6th to April 14th.[177]

Nevada State Legislature

When the Nevada Constitution was adopted, its fourth article established when the Legislature was to be in session. However, Section 29 of Article 4, the section that dealt with legislative sessions, was repealed by vote of the people in the 1958 general election. The session dates for the Nevada Legislature are no longer limited by the Nevada Constitution.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will not hold a regular session.

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from February 4 to June 3.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included taxes, state's tax structure, spending, medicare, and gun control.[178][179]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was not in regular session.

2011

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from February 7 through June 6.[180]

2010

In 2010, the Legislature was not in regular session.[181] However, the Legislature did meet in 2010 for a special session, which lasted from February 23rd to March 1st.[182]

New Hampshire General Court

The Second Part of the New Hampshire Constitution establishes when the General Court is to be in session. Article 3 of the Second Part states that the General Court is to convene annually on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in January. Additionally, in even-numbered years, the General Court is to meet on the first Wednesday of December for organizational purposes.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Court will be in session from January 8 through June 1.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include capital punishment, a proposed casino, raising fuel taxes for road improvement, Medicaid expansion, and a return of the state minimum wage.[183][184][185]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Court was in session from January 2 to July 1.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included the state's budget deficit, education funding, state pensions, and abortion.[186]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Court was in session from January 4 through June 27.

Major issues

Major issues on the agenda included economic development, job creation, same-sex marriage, and gambling.[187]

2011

In 2011, the General Court was in session from January 5 through July 1.[188]

Session highlights

State employee compensation cuts

In June, lawmakers passed a controversial bill that cut benefits and required longer hours for state employees. Sponsored by Senator Jeb Bradley, the bill called for public employees to contribute an extra 2 percent of their wages to the state's retirement system, a cut to retirement benefits for new hires, and mandated extra hours for all employees. Though the plan, which passed the GOP-controlled legislature, was subsequently vetoed by Democratic John Lynch, Republican lawmakers shoehorned it into law by attaching it to the state budget bill.

During a speech pitching his plan, Bradley said that his plan was "tough medicine" that would save the state, which faced a $4.7 billion unfunded liability, about $700 million over the coming decades.[189][190] In response, employees complained that they had gone six years without any step or cost-of-living pay increases.

2010

In 2010, the General Court was in session from January 6 to July 1.[191]

New Jersey State Legislature

Article IV of the New Jersey Constitution provides that each Legislature is constituted for a term of two years, split into two annual sessions. Because the Constitution also specifies that all business from the first year may be continued into the second year, the distinction between the two annual sessions is more ceremonial than actual. The two-year legislative term begins at noon on the second Tuesday in January of each even-numbered year, which for the 2010-2012 term was on January 12, 2010. At the end of the second year, all unfinished business expires.

Article IV also allows the Governor of New Jersey to call special sessions of the Legislature. Additionally, a special session can be called if a majority of each legislative house petitions the Governor requesting a special session.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through January 1, 2016.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include lowering property taxes, establishing the "Hurricane Sandy Bill of Rights," pay equity for women, funding for women’s health care and making college more affordable.[192]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 10, 2013, to January 13, 2014.

Major issues

The major issue for the Legislature is rebuilding the state after superstorm Sandy. Gun control is also expected to be addressed.[193]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through a date to be determined by the Legislature.

2011

In 2011, the Legislature will be in session from January 12 through a date to be determined by the Legislature.[194]

2010

In 2010, the Legislature convened on January 12, and remained in session throughout the year.[195]

New Mexico State Legislature

Article IV of the New Mexico Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 5 of Article IV states that the Legislature is to convene its annual regular session on the third Tuesday of January. In odd-numbered years, the Legislature is to be in session for no longer than sixty days. In even-numbered years, the Legislature is to be in session for no longer than thirty days. In even-numbered years, the Legislature is limited to dealing with budgetary matters, bills that deal with issues raised by special messages of the Governor of New Mexico, and bills vetoed in the previous session by the Governor.

Section 6 of Article IV allows the Governor of New Mexico to call special sessions of the Legislature. Section 6 also allows the Legislature to meet in special session when three-fifths of each house petition the Governor with a request for a special session. Special sessions are not to exceed thirty days in length.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 21 through February 20.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included the economy, the budget, infrastructure and education.[196]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 15 to March 16.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included education, solvency of the state's public retirement system, tax cuts for state businesses, and tougher anti-DWI laws.[197]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 17 through February 16.

Major issues

In their 30-day session the legislature considered drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, voter identification, business income tax, ethics reform, and defining homeowner rights in foreclosure proceedings.[198]

Gov. Susana Martinez (R) watched as the state legislature ended its session by rejecting a bill that would have repealed the law allowing drivers licenses to be issued to people without Social Security numbers. It was the third time she has tried to undo the law. The bill was initially passed by the House but defeated in the Senate. The Senate instead passed a measure shortening how long the licenses are valid and imposing harsher penalties on those committing fraud.[199]

2011

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 18 through March 19.[200] As of late July, a special session will be scheduled for early September, however, a date has not been confirmed by Governor Susana Martinez. As of late July, issues on the agenda include:[201]

  • Fireworks use and sale ban in very dry years
  • A measure giving in-state companies an advantage when bidding for contracts
  • A ban on issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants

The 45 calendar days that the New Mexico Legislature was in session during 2011 is tied with Utah, Wyoming, and Arkansas for the shortest legislative session in the country.[202]

2010

In 2010, the Legislature was in regular session from January 19 to February 18. Additionally, the Senate convened a special session from March 1 to March 4.[203]

New York State Legislature

Article III of the New York Constitution outlines the legislative power for New York's government. Article III does not limit when the Legislature can convene in regular session. However, Section 18 of Article III does contain provisions related to special sessions of the Legislature. Section 18 states that a special session can be called by a petition of request from two-thirds of both legislative houses.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 through January 7, 2015.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include a raise in the minimum wage, a cut in corporate tax rates, rebuilding airports and other infrastructure, legalizing medical marijuana and property tax rebates.[204]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to December 31.

Major issues

Gun control topped the list to be addressed by legislators in 2013. Other major issues included raising the minimum wage, securing federal dollars for victims of Superstorm Sandy, education, job creation, legalizing casinos off of Native American lands and restrictions to the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk procedures.[205]

Gun control:
Following the December 14, 2012 school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, Gov. Andrew Cuomo sought to make gun control a major issue in 2013. To that end, one of the first things the Legislature did in its 2013 session was to pass a tougher assault weapons ban that included restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns, as well as provisions to keep guns from the mentally ill who make threats. New York was the first state to pass new laws after the tragedy.[206]

Corruption:
In July 2013, amid a legislative session riddled with political corruption, Governor Andrew Cuomo established an investigative committee by executive order under the Moreland Act and New York Executive Law. The committee, joined by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, is tasked with examining public corruption, including potential wrongdoing by legislators in campaign fundraising. Any branch of the state government is under the authority of the committee, which will recommend changes to law and ethics rules in addition to the possibility of referring any misconduct cases for prosecution. A preliminary report was due by December 1, 2013, with a final report expected by the end of 2014.[207]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 4 through June 22.

Major issues

Redistricting was a divisive issue in 2011 and had to be dealt with in 2012. Other issues included addressing a $3.5 billion budget gap and a proposal to ban hydrofracking.[208]

2011

In 2011, the Legislature will be in session from January 5 through a date to be determined by the Legislature.[209]

2010

In 2010, the Legislature convened its regular session on January 6. The Legislature remained in regular session throughout the year. Additionally, the Legislature was in an ongoing special session, which convened in 2009, dealing with issues of deficit reduction.[210]

North Carolina General Assembly

Section 11 of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution establishes that the General Assembly is to convene a new regular session every two years, and that the dates for these sessions are to be set by law. Sessions in the General Assembly of North Carolina last two years and begin on odd numbered years after elections. Sessions begin at noon on the third Wednesday after the second Monday in January.[211]

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature is projected to be in session from May 14 through July 1.

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 9 to July 26.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2012-2013 legislative swession included tax reform, cutting government regulations and reshaping the state's public schools.[212]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature convened on May 16 and adjourned July 3.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 26 through mid June.[213] A special session dealing with redistricting began July 13 and ended July 28. The redistricting session covered more than just redistricting, with Republicans overriding five of Governor Perdue's vetoes. Some of the overturned vetoes include the Women's Right to Know Act and state regulatory overhaul. Democratic lawmakers achieved victory in sustaining the veto on the voter I.D. bill.[214]

A second special session was called for September 12 to consider constitutional amendments, including a potential ban on same-sex marriage.[214]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from May 12 to July 11.[215]

North Dakota Legislative Assembly

Article IV of the North Dakota Constitution establishes when the Assembly is to be in session. Section 7 of Article IV states that the Assembly is to convene in regular session every January after a legislative election. This means that the Assembly convenes in January of every odd-numbered year. Section 7 specifies that the convening date is to be the first Tuesday after the third day in January, unless this date is changed by law. Section 7 limits the length of regular sessions to no more than eighty days every two years.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will not hold a regular session.

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to May 6.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session were focused mostly on the oil boom in western North Dakota and included a budget, the state surplus, improved transportation infrastructure, and decreasing crime.[216]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was not in regular session.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislative Assembly was in regular session from January 4 through April 28.[217] A special session has been called by Governor Jack Dalrymple for November 7 through 12 to cover legislative redistricting and disaster relief.[218]

Interim Committees

On May 25, 2011 the Legislative Management Committee appointed members to the state's interim committees. Historically, majority and minority members of the Legislative Management Committee are appointed as chairs of the interim committees. However in 2011, only Republican legislators were appointed to chair interim committees. House Minority Leader Jerome Kelsh (D) called the move partisan and a "break with tradition." House Majority Leader Al Carlson (D) argued that the appointments reflected wishes of voters in electing Republican candidates. Regardless of the particular committee chair, Republicans will be a majority on all committees. Only a few states permit minority committee chairs.[219]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislative Assembly did not meet in regular session.[220]

Ohio General Assembly

Article II of the Ohio Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to meet. Section 8 of Article II states that the regular session is to convene on the first Monday in January of each year, or the following day if that Monday is a legal holiday.

Section 8 also contains rules for convening special sessions of the General Assembly. It empowers the Governor of Ohio or the presiding officers of the General Assembly to convene a special session. For the presiding officers to convene the session, they must act jointly.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Assembly will be in session from January 7 through December 31.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include raising taxes on gas and oil drilling, reforming Ohio’s municipal income tax system, changing the state's election and concealed-weapons laws, and reforming Medicaid and other health-care issues. Both chambers are also looking to reduce the state's energy efficiency and renewable energy mandates.[221]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Assembly was in session from January 7 to December 31.

Major issues

Keith Faber (R) took over as President of the Senate and the main focus of the legislature was adopting a new biennial state budget. Additionally, lawmakers addressed casino regulation, state collective-bargaining laws, Medicare expansion, and prison overcrowding.[222]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly began its legislative session on January 3.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly will be in session from January 3 through a date to be determined by the Ohio Legislature.[223]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly convened its legislative session on January 4th, and it remains in session throughout the year.[224]

Oklahoma State Legislature

Article V of the Oklahoma Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 26 of Article V states that the Legislature is to meet in regular session on the first Monday in February of each year, and it is to adjourn its regular session by the last Friday in May of each year. Additionally, Section 26 also states that the Legislature is to meet for organizational purposes on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in January of each odd-numbered year.

Section 27 of Article V contains the rules for convening special sessions of the Legislature. Section 27 allows a special session to be called by the Governor of Oklahoma or by a written call signed by two-thirds of the members of both legislative houses.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from February 3 through May 30.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session include tax cuts, the budget, prison funding, employee compensation and judicial reform.[225]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from February 4 to May 31.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included changes to the state pension system and workers compensation funds, tax cuts, and increased funding for education.[226]

Lawsuit reform

In September 2013, the legislature held a five-day special session where both houses reenacted a lawsuit reform bill. Republicans in the state legislature settled on 23 provisions with the effect of reestablishing key provisions of a 2009 lawsuit reform bill, which was struck down by the state Supreme Court in June 2013. Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman is a strong supporter of lawsuit reform.[227]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from February 6 through May 25.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature will be in session from February 7 through May 27.[228]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from February 1 to May 28.[229]

Oregon State Legislature

Article IV of the Oregon Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to meet. Section 10 of Article IV states that the Legislature will meet in regular session once every two years. The section goes on to establish starting dates for these sessions, but these dates have been changed by law (as the section allows). Under current law, sessions convene on the second Monday in January of all odd years.[230]

Section 10 of Article IV also requires the presiding officers of both legislative houses to convene an emergency session of the Legislature when a majority of the members of each house request an emergency session.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from February 3 through March 10.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included marijuana, gun control, liquor in grocery stores, the environment, health, the budget, Oregon Lottery reform and the Columbia River Crossing project.[231]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from February 4 to July 9.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included in-state tuition, driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, and background checks for guns.[232][233]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from February 1 through March 6.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from February 1 through June 30.[234]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature did not hold a regular session. However, the Legislature was in special session from February 1st to February 25th.[235]

Pennsylvania General Assembly

Article II of the Pennsylvania Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to meet. Section 4 of Article II states that the General Assembly is to convene its regular session on the first Tuesday of January each year.

Section 4 gives the Governor of Pennsylvania the authority to convene special sessions of the General Assembly either when he judges a special session to be in the public interest, or when a majority of each legislative House requests a special session.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Assembly will be in session from January 7 through November 30.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include public pension reform and liquor privatization.[236]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Assembly was in session from January 2 to December 31.

Major issues

Like many other states, Pennsylvania lawmakers had to work on the budget deficit. Other issues included economic development, public pension reform, liquor privatization, and child abuse.[237]

In November 2013, the Pennsylvania state House and state Senate voted unanimously on a bill, which was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett, to change the state’s unemployment compensation law. The bill closed a loophole that allowed a state employee to retire from his job and begin collecting benefits, only to be hired back as a part-time employee while also collecting unemployment compensation after leaving a previous job. While the law closed a triple-dipping loophole, the changes do not prevent double-dipping, in which a state employee retires, begins collecting pension benefits, and returns to work a part-time position.[238]

In November 2013, the state House approved a gambling expansion bill by a vote of 102-96. The bill would allow Pennsylvania bars and taverns to conduct “small scale gambling” such as raffles and drawings for cash prizes. A similar bill was approved by the Senate in October 2013, but the House-passed bill must be agreed to before the measure becomes law. Proponents of the bill say the state could raise almost $156 million annually in tax revenue if as many as 2,000 bars and taverns accept it. Opponents of the legislation say the bill would not produce the promised revenue and would hurt families.[239]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly began its legislative session on January 3.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly will be in session from January 4 through a date to be determined by the General Assembly.[240]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly convened its legislative session on January 5, and it remained in session throughout the year.[241]

Rhode Island General Assembly

Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 3 of Article states that the General Assembly is to convene its regular session on the first Tuesday of January in each year.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Assembly will be in session from January 7 through June 1.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include a budget deficit estimated at $100 million, pension reform, raising the minimum wage, reducing corporate income taxes and raising bridge tolls.[242][243]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Assembly was in session from January 1 to July 5.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included a budget deficit estimated at $69 million, legalization of same-sex marriage, gun control, and economic development.[244]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 3 through June 13.

Major issues

The legislature had to address a $120 million budget deficit. Legislators wanted to cut spending to close the gap while Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) pushed for a tax raise. Major issues also included reducing municipal pension costs and reducing regulations to spur economic growth.[245]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 4 - July 1. The legislature is in recess until October, when a special session is planned to tackle the cost of public-employee pensions.[246]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 5 to June 11.[247]

South Carolina State Legislature

Article III of the South Carolina Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 9 of Article III states that the Legislature is to convene on the second Tuesday of January each year. Section 9 allows the General Assembly to recede from session for up to thirty days by a majority vote of the legislative house seeking to recede. Furthermore, one or both houses can recede from session for more than thirty days if that action is approved by two-thirds of the members.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through June 30.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include ethics reform and government restructuring.[248]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to June 20.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included computer security, improving the state's roads and bridges and addressing healthcare.[249]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 11 through June 7.

Major issues

Legislators addressed a budget surplus of $900 million. Major agenda issues included tax reform, job security measures, reforming the state retirement system, and creating a new school funding formula.[250]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from January 11 through June 2.[251] On June 2, Governor Nikki Haley attempted to call the Legislature into an "emergency" special session to begin on June 7 to create the new South Carolina Department of Administration. A lawsuit was filed by Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, in which he contended that Haley's call for a special session was unconstitutional, and that it violated the state Constitution's requirement of separation of powers among the governor, legislature and courts.[252] On June 6, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled 3-2 against Governor Haley, stating that her order violated the Legislature's ability to set its calendar and agenda.[253]

The legislature met in a special redistricting session from June 14 - July 1.[254] The legislature re-convened July 26.[255]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 12 to June 3.[256]

South Dakota State Legislature

Article III of the South Dakota Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 7 of Article III states that the Legislature is to meet in regular session each year on the second Tuesday of January.

The South Dakota Constitution also contains provisions concerning special sessions of the Legislature. Section 3 of Article IV allows the Governor of South Dakota to convene a special session of the Legislature. Additionally, Section 31 of Article III allows for a special session to be convened by the presiding officers of both legislative houses upon the written request of two-thirds of the members of each house.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through March 31.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included the state budget, a texting ban and domestic violence.[257]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to March 25.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 included reforming the state's criminal justice system and approving a balanced budget.[258]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through March 19.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 11 through March 28.[259]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 12 to March 29.[260]

Tennessee General Assembly

The Tennessee General Assembly convenes on the second Tuesday in January on the years following elections as outlined by Article II, Section 8 of the Tennessee Constitution. The legislature is limited to 90 paid legislative days within a two year term.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through May 1.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include education, guns in work parking lots, and requiring prescriptions for drugs used to make methamphetamine.[261]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to April 19. Republicans had a supermajority for the first time since the Civil War era.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included guns, school vouchers, and tax cuts to wine in grocery stores.[262]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 through May 1.

Major issues

Republican legislators began the session by passing new congressional and state legislative maps, but redistricting may remain a major issue as Democrats have threatened a lawsuit over the new districts. Republican leaders said the session will focus on job creation and eliminating policies and regulations that restrict businesses, including the inheritance tax, and reforming unemployment insurance.[263]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly will be in session from January 11 through May 1.[264]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 12th to June 10th. Additionally, the General Assembly met in special session from January 12th to January 25th to deal with educational issues related to Race to the Top funds.[265]

Texas State Legislature

Article III of the Texas Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 5 of Article III states that the Legislature shall meet every two years at times to be established by law. Current law establishes the start of session to be noon on the second Tuesday in January of all odd numbered years.[266] Section 5 goes on to say that the Legislature can also be convened by the Governor of Texas. Sessions are limited to 140 days.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will not hold a regular session.

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to May 27. Thirty minutes after the regular session ended, Governor Rick Perry called legislators back for a special session starting that evening.[267]

Major issues

Along with the necessity of creating a new budget, some of the biggest issues included medicaid and school funding, a water shortage, and reforming the school finance system.[268]

Wallace Hall impeachment

See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial

After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[269] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed a large number of FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[270] According to his accusers, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.[271][272] However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages.[273][274] In addition, Cigarroa wrote: "During testimony before the Select Committee, some early witnesses implied that the U.T. System has not protected the privacy rights of students, staff, and patients. This is simply not true."[275]

An effort was begun in June 2013 by members of the Texas State House to try and impeach Hall from his position as Regent. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment under the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Governor Rick Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list.[276][277] The lack of lawsuit disclosure by Hall is not unique -- more than 9,000 lawsuits were not disclosed by other appointed Texas officials.[278] No unelected official has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office.[279] Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees.[280] He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."[281] Texas state legislators have never previously tried to remove an appointed official. Only two elected officials in the history of Texas have ever been successfully impeached.[282] Texas State House Speaker Joe Straus authorized the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations to investigate the possibility of drafting articles of impeachment.[283]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was not in regular session.

2011 (82nd Legislature)

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

Regular session

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 11 through May 30.[284]Major themes throughout the session were fixing a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, state and congressional redistricting, and immigration reform. While redistricting maps were passed for the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas State Senate, and the State Board of Education, the legislature failed to pass a congressional map within the regular session.

Special session

The 82nd Legislative Session officially ended Monday May 30, 2011. Due to a lack of progress on key legislative items, Governor Rick Perry called a special session which began first thing Tuesday May 31, 2011. Of primary concern in the special session is passing supporting legislation needed to balance the budget. Even though a budget bill passed both the House and Senate during the regular session, a last-minute filibuster by Democratic Senator Wendy Davis halted the passing of an essential school finance bill that was required to balance the budget. The Texas Constitution requires a balanced budget, so a special session was called. Balancing the budget is not the only item on the special session agenda. Medicaid reform, immigration, and congressional redistricting are amongst the issues likely to be addressed.[285]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature did not meet in regular session.[286]

2009 (81st Legislature)

In 2009, the Legislature met in session from January 13 through June 1.[287]

Utah State Legislature

Section 2 of Article VI of the Utah Constitution establishes that the Legislature is to convene a new session every two years on the second Monday in January. This means that the "2010 session" was actually a continuation of a regular session that convened in 2009. Section 16 of Article VI limits these regular sessions to sixty legislative days, except in cases of impeachment.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 27 through March 14.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included LGBT antidiscrimination, giving protection to clergy who refuse to perform same-sex marriages, the state budget, education funding and changing the position of Attorney General of Utah from an elected position to an appointed one.[288]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 28 to March 14.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included ethics reform, adoption rights, alcohol laws and education funding.[289][290]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 23 through March 8.

Major issues

Major topics included a projected $13 billion budget, improving technology for students, illegal immigration, and infrastructure improvements.[291]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 24 through March 10.[292] A single day special session was called by Governor Gary Herbert for July 27, to consider several issues, including adjustments to health insurance rates, liquor commission guidelines, judicial evaluations, and adopting another resolution supporting a federal balanced budget amendment.[293] Gov. Herbert has called for a second special session this year, set for the week of October 3. During that week, the legislature will cover redistricting issues.[294]

The 45 calendar days that the Utah Legislature is in regular session during 2011 is tied with Wyoming, New Mexico, and Arkansas for the shortest legislative session in the country.[295]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 25 to March 11.[296]

Vermont State Legislature

The Vermont State Legislature meets for biennial sessions starting on odd numbered years on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January, pursuant to Section 7 of the Legislative Department of the Vermont Constitution. The opening date for even numbered years is established by the sitting legislature during the year prior.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 7 through May 14.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include improving integration of environmental regulation with comprehensive planning, affordable health care, tourism funding, workforce training, a tax policy that does not increase taxes on businesses, and a labor policy to not increase costs to employers.[297]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to May 14.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included addressing a projected budget shortfall of $50-$70 million, physician assisted death, and marijuana decriminalization.[298]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through May 5.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 5 through mid May.[299]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 5 to May 12.[300]

Elections

Legislative elections are held in November of every even-numbered year. Representatives and Senators serve two-year terms. One must be a resident of the state for the two years, and of the legislative district for the one year, immediately preceding the election in order to qualify for either house.

Leadership

The House is headed by the Speaker of the House, while the Senate is headed by the State's Lieutenant Governor as the Senate President. The Senate President has only a casting vote. More often, the Senate is presided over by the President Pro Tempore, or temporary President.

Functions

The Legislature is empowered to make law, subject to the Governor's power to veto a bill. However, the veto may be overridden by the Legislature if there is a two-thirds majority in favor of overriding in each House.

The Legislature has the sole power to propose amendments to the Vermont Constitution. An amendment must originate in the Senate, where it must receive a two-thirds vote. After passing the Senate, it must also receive a majority vote in the House. Any amendment that passes both Houses, must be repassed by majority votes, after a newly elected legislature is seated; again, first in the Senate, then in the House. The proposed amendment must then be passed by a majority of the state's voters at a referendum. Only every other Senate session may initiate the amendment process. Thus, Senates elected in off-year (i.e. non-Presidential) elections may initiate amendments, but not Senates elected during Presidential elections. (Vermont Constitution, Chapter 2, Section 72)

The role of third parties

The General Assembly is notable for being the only state legislature in the United States with a significant third-party presence. Six members of the House belong to the Vermont Progressive Party, a center-left party similar to the Social Democratic Party of Germany or the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP). Several other parties that have won legislative seats include the Green Party, and the Liberty Union Party, based largely on the philosophy of Eugene V. Debs. Some members of the smaller parties caucus with members of the Vermont Democratic Party.

Virginia General Assembly

Article IV of the Virginia Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 6 of Article IV states that the General Assembly is to convene annually on the second Wednesday in January. In even-numbered years, regular sessions are limited to sixty days. In odd-numbered years, regular sessions are limited to thirty days. Section 6 allows the General Assembly to extend its regular sessions by thirty days if two-thirds of each house vote to extend the session.

Section 6 allows the Governor of Virginia to convene special sessions of the General Assembly. Section 6 also allows for a special session to be called when it is requested by two-thirds of the members of each house.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Assembly was in session from January 8 through March 10.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included expanding Medicaid, a $97 billion spending plan, and raising minimum wage.[301]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Assembly was in session from January 9 to February 25.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included abortion, education, transportation, gun control, and ending a ban on uranium mining.[302]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 11 through March 10.[303]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from January 12 through February 27. On February 27, a special redistricting session was convened. A reconvened session will begin on April 6 at 12 p.m. to consider any Governor's amendments and/or vetoes to legislation passed by the General Assembly. This is the only business that can occur during the reconvened session.[304]

A second special session convened June 9 and lasted through July 29. The session was called to elect judges to the state Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.[305]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 13 to March 13.[306]

Washington State Legislature

This image shows the state capitol under construction in the 1920s.

Article II of the Washington Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 12 of Article II allows the dates of regular sessions to be determined by statute. Current law calls for the legislature to meet on the second Monday in January.[307] Section 12 of the constitution limits the length of regular sessions to 105 days in odd-numbered years and 60 days in even-numbered years.

Section 12 also establishes rules for convening special sessions of the Legislature. It states that special sessions can be called by the Governor of Washington or by resolution of two-thirds of the members of each legislative house. Special sessions are not to exceed 30 days in length.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 13 through March 14.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included a court-mandated $5 billion education funding package, transportation funding through a gas tax increase and climate change proposals.[308]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 to April 28.

Major issues

The budget remains the most pressing issue for the state. Other agenda items include marijuana, child sex abuse, gun control, wolves, small businesses, human trafficking, and healthcare.[309]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through March 8.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through April 24.[310]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in regular session from January 11 to March 11. Additionally, the Legislature was in special session from March 15 to April 12 to deal with issues related to the economy and the state budget.[311][312]

West Virginia State Legislature

Article VI of the West Virginia Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 18 of Article VI states that the Legislature is to convene its regular session on the second Wednesday of January of each year. Once every four years, on the year in which the Governor of West Virginia is inaugurated, the Legislature holds a thirty day recess after the first day of the session. This recess is designed to give the Governor time to prepare a budget.

Section 22 of Article VI limits regular sessions of the Legislature to sixty days. Regular sessions can be extended by a two-thirds vote of the members of both legislative houses.

Section 19 of Article VI gives the Governor of West Virginia the power to convene the Legislature into special session. Section 19 also requires the Governor to convene a special session if it is requested by three-fifths of the members of each legislative house.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 8 through March 10.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included legislation that benefits families, expanding education, state energy, and developing the economy.[313]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 9 to April 13.

Major issues

Major issues include the availability of soft drinks in schools, repeal of the law allowing the sterilization of "mental defectives," and treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases.[314]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 11 through March 10.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from January 12 through March 18.[315] An August 1 special session was called by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to pass legislation related to redistricting and other topics.[316] A second special session began on August 15, to replace the House of Delegates' redistricting plan. The House's plan, which passed during the first special session on August 1, must be vetoed because of errors. The plan contains duplicate voter precinct populations for districts in both Kanawha and Morgan counties.[317]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in regular session from January 13 to March 20. Additionally, the Legislature met in special session from May 13 to May 19.[318][319]

Origination of bills

Bills, even revenue bills, and resolutions may originate in either house.

Veto override

For budget bills or supplementary appropriations bills, two-thirds of the members elected to each house are required to override the governor's veto of a bill or items or parts thereof. For all other bills, a simple majority of each house is required.

Wisconsin State Legislature

Article IV of the Wisconsin Constitution contains provisions related to the meeting of the Legislature. Section 11 of Article IV states that the times for regular sessions are to be provided by law. Session times and dates are established by calendar, which is voted on at the beginning of each two year session. Section 11 also states that the Governor of Wisconsin has the power to call the Legislature into special session.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through December 1.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include income tax, public school funding, health care, and jobs.[320]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 7 to December 31.

Major issues

Following the extreme polarization of the last two years, Gov. Scott Walker (R) said he would push for a more moderate agenda in 2013. Alongside the creation of a new budget, main issues will include job creation, workforce development, tax cuts, education reform and transportation infrastructure.[321]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through March 16 with a return for limited business on April 24.

Major issues

With potential recalls of Governor Scott Walker (R), Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R) and four Republican state senators, debate on major legislation was expected to be limited.[322] Going into the session, Republican leaders said they were focused on passing bills on only four main issues - clearing the way for an ore mine in northern Wisconsin, easing laws regarding development on wetlands, environmental regulation, and creating a venture capital fund to help start-up businesses.[323]

The six recalls dominated the session. Ultimately on June 5, recalls against the Governor, Lt. Governor, and three of the state senators were unsuccessful. The fourth recall, that against Van Wanggaard, went to a recount. Wanggaard was defeated, giving Democrats control of the Senate.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature adjourned a special session at the request of Governor Scott Walker on January 4, 2011. The special session was called to consider legislation regarding tax credits, tort law, medical savings accounts, other legislation relating to taxation, and the budget repair bill. The legislature's special session will be ongoing.[324] The regular session began on January 11. An extraordinary session was called by the Legislature from June 13-30, with another extraordinary session scheduled for July 19-29. The next scheduled floor period is September 13, 2011. Though the January special session is ongoing, special session bills may be taken up in the interim.[325]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature convened its legislative session on January 19, and it ended its last scheduled floor-period on April 22.[326][327]

Wyoming State Legislature

Article III of the Wyoming Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Sections 6 and 7 of Article III contain the relevant provisions. The Legislature is to convene in regular session for no more than sixty legislative working days every two years, and no more than forty legislative days in any year. In odd-numbered years, the Legislature meets for a general and budget session, beginning on the second Tuesday of January. In even-numbered years, the Legislature meets for a session devoted to budgetary matters.

Section 7 of Article III contains the provisions for convening special sessions of the Legislature. Special sessions can be convened by the proclamation of the Governor of Wyoming, or the Legislature can convene a special session of up to twenty legislative days if the session is requested by a majority of the members of each legislative house. s

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from February 10 through March 7.

Major isues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included addressing the state's budget, requiring for-profit hospitals to accept a percentage of charity care, increased school accountability and reforming retirement systems of state agencies.[328]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to February 27.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included "opting out" of the Affordable Healthcare Act and Medicaid, a 10-cent fuel tax increase, infrastructure improvements, and reforms to sex crime laws.[329]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from February 13 through March 9.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from January 11 through March 3.[330] The 45 calendar days that the Wyoming Legislature was in session during 2011 is tied with Utah, New Mexico, and Arkansas for the shortest legislative session in the country.[331]

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature convened for its biennial budget session, which lasted from February 8 to March 5.[332]


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