On May 31, 2021, the Texas legislative session ended. Our state legislature meets for regular session every other year. Per the state constitution, regular session cannot last more than 140 days. When the clock strikes midnight on that last day, whatever didn’t pass is considered dead.

So this week our Governor called a special session. What’s a special session? What does this mean for all those dead bills? What should we expect? Let’s talk about it.

Once regular session is over, the Governor can call a special session, and they can call as many special sessions as they want. A special session can only last 30 days, and unlike regular session it’s not a free-for-all. The Governor will have to set an agenda for what they want covered in the special session, and bills pertaining to topics outside of that agenda cannot be introduced.

The process for passing bills is the same — bills introduced, referred to committees, passed out of committee, sent to the other chamber, etc. Click here to read up on that process. But remember they only have 30 days for the whole process, so everything moves more quickly in a special session. And any bills that died in regular session that fit the agenda have to start back over at the beginning of the process, too.

As of right now we don’t know what is on the agenda for this special session, although many assume that the voter suppression bill that was killed in the final hours of regular session is high on the list of the Governor’s priorities. Click here for more insight on what we might see in this particular special session.