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2017 Texas Legislature: By The Numbers

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio

This year marks the 85th Texas Legislative Session.  The first regular session was held in 1846, the year after Texas entered the Union.  The Legislature meets every other year beginning on the second Tuesday in January- that’s January 10 this year.  The Texas Constitution limits the regular session to 140 calendar days.

Here are some other numbers that define this year’s Texas Legislature:

3 - The so-called "Big Three" power players in the Legislature are the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Texas House Speaker.    

Governor Greg Abbott

48 — Greg Abbott is Texas’ 48 thGovernor

He was elected in 2014. He was also the 50th and longest serving Attorney General for the State.

The constitutional and statutory duties of the Governor include:

Signing or vetoing bills passed by the Legislature.

Serving as commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.

Convening special sessions of the Legislature for specific purposes.

For a complete list of the governors duties visit http://gov.texas.gov/about/duties

42 — Dan Patrick was elected the state's 42nd lieutenant governor of Texas in 2014.


Prior to being elected lieutenant governor, Patrick served eight years in the State Senate. Before entering public service, Lt. Gov. Patrick was a successful small-businessman, a conservative radio talk host, a television anchor, a Christian author and a Christian movie producer.

Joe Straus, Speaker of the House

9 —The Honorable Joe Straus is expected to be elected the Speaker of the Texas House on opening day of the 2017 session. He's held the job since January 2009, making this the start of his ninth year in this role. He was elected to that post by his colleagues at the start of the last four legislative sessions.

31 — Members who make up the Texas Senate, each serving four-year-terms.

150 — Members who make up the Texas House of Representatives. Each elected for a two-year term.

7200-  ​The annual salary of an elected representative or senator- $7,200 a year.

1,203 — number of bills the governor signed in 2015, in the 84th Legislative session.

42 — Number of bills the governor vetoed in the 84th Legislative session.

163 — Number of bills that became law without Abbott's signature during the 84th Legislative session.


5 Big Issues State Lawmakers Will Tackle

  1. Smaller Budget
  2. School Choice
  3. School Funding
  4. Child Protective Services/Foster Care
  5. Sanctuary Cities/Campuses

Dates of Interest For the 85th Legislature

Session Begins - Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at noon

Session Ends (sine die)- Monday, May 29, 2017 (140th day)

Last day the governor can sign or veto bills - Sunday, June 18, 2017

Date that most bills without specific effective dates become law - Monday, August 28, 2017