The El Paso Times and News Channel 9 recently conducted a poll in the El Paso area. They asked residents whether the Texas legislature should change to meeting every year, instead of meeting every two years as they now do.
Personally, I found the poll's results rather frightening. It seems that 67% of the respondents thought the legislature should meet annually. Only 22% thought it best that the legislature meet only every other year.
Currently, the legislature meets only in odd-numbered years, and can run only for 140 days. This is mandated in the Texas Constitution.
This year, over 5,000 bills were introduced. Most of them died because they could not be dealt with within the 140-day time limit. Looking at some of the bills passed by this legislature, I would say it's a good thing that most bills died.
I don't think most of the 67% that wants annual sessions was watching the legislature this year, or they would know what a clusterf*ck a session of the Texas legislature really is. Frankly, the thought of having this group meet yearly scares the hell out of me.
Gregory Rocha, a political science professor at UTEP, says the history behind having sessions only every other year is the idea that less government is better than more government. He said, "The issue is whether we trust government. Further in East Texas there is even more distrust of what government and elected officials can do. No one wants to give them more power -- it's part of the Texas political culture."
I'm not from East Texas, but I have to agree. These guys screw up enough by meeting only once every two years. Let's just leave it the way it is.