By Selena Saucedo
By the start of February, 38 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia Council will have convened their 2022 regular sessions. Minnesota will be the last legislature to convene this month, today.
Arkansas, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oregon and Wyoming will convene in February while Louisiana will convene in March. There are four states that only meet in regular session in odd-numbered years—Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas. Unless these states call a special session, only interim work will dominate their legislative schedules until 2023.
North Carolina may not have convened its 2022 regular session as we round out January, but it is still meeting in a short session to address bills that have already passed in one chamber and need a vote from the other chamber. By the time North Carolina convenes its regular session in May, almost 20 legislatures are expected to have adjourned their regular session.
In 2022, a few states have already held or are scheduled to hold a special session within the next month. Alabama, Delaware and West Virginia held special sessions in January on topics ranging from federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to redistricting. Louisiana is set to begin a special session on Feb. 1 focused on redistricting.
For most legislatures, the even year is the second year of their biennium and session lengths are shorter than the first (odd) year. So many legislatures will have a shorter session length than we saw last year. Arkansas and New Mexico have the shortest sessions this year at 30 days long. You can learn more about session lengths here. In Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia, the even year is the first of their biennium. This is because these four states hold off-year elections.
In addition to shorter regular sessions in the second year of the biennium, some legislatures limit the scope of their session. For example, in even years, the Wyoming Legislature only considers budget bills and other bills only by approval of two-thirds of the members of either house.
Stay up-to-date on when legislatures convene, adjourn or go into special session in 2022 by visiting the 2022 legislative session calendar. Get more information on how legislatures are meeting in this companion blog.
Selena Saucedo is a policy specialist in NCSL's Center for Legislative Strengthening.