State Government Affairs
Remote Legislative Testimony: What We’ve Learned After a Year of Remote Government Affairs
May 5, 2021 | Liz Malm, Shannon Augustus, Marvin Yates, Rob Shrum
Usually when the calendar rolls into June, statehouse observers can begin to relax and plan their vacations as most state legislatures have wrapped up their business for the year. But not this year. Just like in 2020, the pandemic is playing havoc with legislative schedules. Plus, the decennial requirement for state legislatures to rebalance legislative and congressional districts lands in 2021. And just like most everything else in these uncertain times, U.S. Census figures from the federal government are delayed this year, further scrambling well laid schedules for redistricting.
The following is a rundown, by month, of all upcoming special sessions and other notable legislative activities to prepare for this month and into the fall:
Texas | July 8 - August 6: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called a 30-day special session after a last minute walkout by House Democrats prevented Republicans from passing several GOP priority bills in the regular session. The special session is still ongoing, as is House Democrats’ walkout, preventing a quorum and passage of Republicans’ election reform bills. Abbott promises to keep calling special sessions until the election bill passes, including as soon as time runs out on the current special session on Friday, Aug. 6.
Virginia | August 2 - August 10: Lawmakers in Richmond allocated $4.3 billion in federal Rescue Plan funds and appointed a slew of judges to the state Court of Appeals.
Arkansas | August 4 - August 5: The General Assembly is planning to hold a 2-day special session beginning Wednesday on school mask mandates.
Texas | August 7 - September 5: Gov. Abbott followed through on his promise to immediately order another special session due to House Democrats’ walkout. A second special session starts Saturday, August 7, and ends in early September.
California | August 16 -September 10: California lawmakers return from summer recess for a 4-week sprint to the end of session in September. All eyes will be on the Appropriation Committees in both chambers since the policy committee deadline passed prior to the break.
Minnesota | September 7: Lawmakers are planning a special session in early September to provide up to $250 million in bonus pay to essential workers affected by the pandemic.
Nebraska | September 13: A special session on redistricting is expected to begin on Sept. 13, although Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) has yet to make it official.
Missouri | September 15: Missouri’s annual veto session convenes. Gov. Mike Parson (R) vetoed or partially vetoed 16 bills this year, some of which may be taken up for override votes.
Oregon | September 20 - September 24: Lawmakers are planning a return trip to Salem for a special session on redistricting beginning Sept. 20. New legislative and congressional maps are due to the Oregon Supreme Court by Sept. 27.
Pennsylvania | September 20: The Senate returns from its 3-month summer break; the House returns to Harrisburg the following week on Sept. 27.
Arkansas | September (date TBA): Lawmakers chose to recess, rather than adjourn, when they wrapped up the regular session in April. The regular session resumes in September to take up redistricting. Plus, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) plans to call a separate special session on taxes in September.
Georgia | September (date TBA): A special session on redistricting is expected to be called in September. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) wants the session agenda to include measures to address an uptick in violent crime in the Atlanta area as well.
South Carolina | September (date TBA): South Carolina legislators are planning a special session for the fall, likely in September, to take up redistricting as well as the allocation of $2.5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds.
Iowa | mid-September (date TBA): Due to the delay in receiving U.S. Census figures from the federal government, a special session on redistricting, previously expected to be held in August, is now in the works for the fall, likely mid-September or October. Some statehouse Republicans are considering adding items to the session agenda, including a ban on vaccine mandates by private companies.
Illinois | October 19-28: The Illinois General Assembly reconvenes this fall for its annual veto session. The House and Senate meet for three days the week of Oct. 18, and three days the following. The session is not limited to vetoes, however; any bill may be taken up.
Oklahoma | October (date TBA): Oklahoma lawmakers expect to return sometime this fall for a special session on redistricting. It’s unclear in which month the session will be held.
Texas | October (date TBA): Another special session is planned in Austin this fall on redistricting and for the allocation of $4.1 billion in American Rescue Plan funds.
Washington | October (date TBA): A special session on transportation funding may be on tap for lawmakers in Olympia. The session is tentatively planned for October or November.
West Virginia | October (date TBA): A special session on redistricting is expected to be held in October. West Virginia loses one of its three seats in Congress as a result of population shifts, meaning legislators have only to draw one line for the new congressional district map.
South Dakota | November 8-9: Lawmakers head back to Pierre on Nov. 8 for a 2-day special session on redistricting. By proclamation, no other issues will be allowed to be discussed.
Idaho | November (date TBA): The Idaho House decided to recess, rather than adjourn, at the end of the regular session on May 12. The unusual move gives the House the option to return to session at any time before December 31. The Senate, meanwhile, adjourned sine die in May and could only be called back to session by order of the governor.
Indiana | November (date TBA): Both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly recessed upon the conclusion of the regular session in April but plan to return sometime this fall to take up redistricting. A start date for the session has not been announced. However, the session must end by Nov. 15.
North Dakota | November (date TBA): A special session on redistricting is expected to bring North Dakota lawmakers back to Bismarck in November. Dates have been set.
Maryland | December 6: A special session on redistricting is expected to begin in Annapolis on Dec. 6.
Bookmark MultiState’s 2021 Session Dates chart for daily updates on special sessions, as well as changes to regular session dates. And, coming soon — our 2022 Session Dates chart.
May 5, 2021 | Liz Malm, Shannon Augustus, Marvin Yates, Rob Shrum
April 22, 2021 | Liz Malm
January 28, 2021 | MultiState