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Entry from January 17, 2019
“The Texas legislature should meet two days every 140 years”

The Texas legislature meets every two years for 140 days. Many citizens believe that the law was incorrectly transcribed and that the legislature was meant to meet for two days every 140 years.

The Texas political joke is an old one, but the origin is unknown. “The Best Show in Town” by Paul Burka, printed in the Texas Monthly in January 1975, stated:

“The legislature now meets every two years for 140 days, although it has been suggested that we’d all be better off if it convened every 140 years for two days.”


Wikipedia: Texas Legislature
The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of Texas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The state legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin. It is a powerful arm of the Texas government not only because of its power of the purse to control and direct the activities of state government and the strong constitutional connections between it and the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, but also due to Texas’s plural executive.
(...)
The Texas Legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year. The Texas Constitution limits the regular session to 140 calendar days.

January 1975, Texas Monthly, “The Best Show in Town” by Paul Burka, pg. 74, col. 1:
The legislature now meets every two years for 140 days, although it has been suggested that we’d all be better off if it convened every 140 years for two days.

5 October 1978, San Francisco (CA) Examiner, “Editor’s mail box,” pg. 40, col. 5:
The legislature of the great state of Texas meets for 140 days every two years. Popular sentiment is that it should meet for two days every 140 years.
Hugh Crell
San Francisco


10 January 1979, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Close Calls: Legislators fill news pages” by Associated Editor Rowland Nethaway, pg. A15, col. 1:
We also do not subscribe to the widely held belief that the framers of the Texas Constitution actually meant for the Legislature to meet for two days every 140 years.

14 December 1990, San Antonio (TX) Express News, “Capitol Biz: Business vis-a-vis politics Hard issues facing new Legislature” by Lesli Hicks, pg. 1:
“Too bad lawmakers don’t meet every 140 years for two days instead.”

Google Groups: comp.dcom.telecom
Deregulation Of Telcos In Texas
co...@thing1.cc.utexas.edu
4/29/93
(...)
The Texas legislature meets for 140 days every two years, so this session is growing short.  Two years would be the next regular session.  I prefer two days every 140 years.

25 May 1997, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “The perennial debate in Austin: Annual or biennial?” by Max B. Baker, pg. A21, col. 1:
But others, more skeptical of government gatherings, say once every two years is often enough. An old joke is that instead of meeting once every two years for 140 days, it might be better for the Legislature to meet every 140 years for two days.

5 July 1997, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “The Texas Legislature: the good, the bad and ...” by Jay Root, pg. B13, col. 1:
They also gather only once every two years for 140 days, which many of us find reassuring. In fact, one old joke is that the Lege should instead meet every 140 years for two days.

Google Groups: rec.music.country.western
OT—Texas Politics - Bill to regulate simulated pubic hair ...
Dan Cutrer
5/18/03
(...)
In Texas the Legislature meets for 140 days every two years. There have always been suggestions things in the Great State would be much better off if it would meet for two days every 140 years.

Google Books
Boy Genius:
Karl Rove, the Architect of George W. Bush’s Remarkable Political Triumphs

By Carl M. Cannon, Lou Dubose and Jan Reid
New York, NY: Public Affairs
2009
Pg. ?:
The Texas Legislature meets every two years for 140 days, and some careful observers of the process have made the case that meeting for two days every 140 years might be preferable.

Twitter
Sam White
@samhwhite
#Texas legislature meets 140 days every 2 years. Maybe they should meet 2 days every 140 years. Rick Rhodes #RuralGreen
9:49 AM - 24 Feb 2011

Google Books
Legends & Lore of the Texas Capitol
By Mike Cox
Charleston, SC: The History Press
2017
Pg. 179:
Texas Constitution limits a regular legislative session to 140 days every two years. (An old joke has it that the Constitution got it backward… the legislature ought to meet for two days every 140 years.)

Twitter
furious_a
@furious_a
See, in Texas the Constitutional Clerk transposed the numbers so instead of “two days every 140 years” it became “140 days every two years”.
12:10 AM - 6 Jun 2018

KUT 90.5 (Austin, TX, NPR station)
A Beginner’s Guide To The Texas Legislature
By BEN PHILPOTT • JAN 8, 2019
(...)
Why does the Legislature only meet for 140 days every other year?
You can thank early Texans for this one. About 140 years ago, people in the Southern U.S. were pretty suspicious of any government, so when folks were settling on how often Texas lawmakers would meet, they decided it should be as infrequent as possible. (The old joke is the framers wanted the Texas Legislature to meet two days every 140 years, but settled on 140 days every two years.)

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Thursday, January 17, 2019 • Permalink