My Kind of Legislature

During a visit earlier today to the New Mexico Capitol in Santa Fe I learned that the New Mexico legislature convenes for only 60 days in odd-numbered years and 30 days in even-numbered years. Furthermore, quoting the visitor brochure,

New Mexico’s citizen-legislators receive no salary for their services. Other than a per diem and mileage allowance for attending legislative sessions and interim committee meetings, the Constitution of New Mexico prohibits any other compensation, perquisite, or allowance.

The New Mexico Senate chamber was eerily quiet during my visit, as was the whole building. Few staffers and no journalists were to be seen.

My recollection from childhood is that the Illinois legislature also met rarely and the members received minimal compensation. This undoubtedly changed long ago.


The Texas legislature is similar. They meet for a brief period of time in odd numbered years. I think it is longer than 60 days, but the principle is still the same.


From the Texas Constitution


Sec. 5. MEETINGS; ORDER OF BUSINESS. (a) The Legislature shall meet every two years at such time as may be provided by law and at other times when convened by the Governor.

Sec. 24. COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF LEGISLATURE; DURATION OF REGULAR SESSIONS. (a) Members of the Legislature shall receive from the Public Treasury a salary of Six Hundred Dollars ($600) per month, unless a greater amount is recommended by the Texas Ethics Commission and approved by the voters of this State in which case the salary is that amount. Each member shall also receive a per diem set by the Texas Ethics Commission for each day during each Regular and Special Session of the Legislature.

(b) No Regular Session shall be of longer duration than one hundred and forty (140) days.

(c) In addition to the per diem the Members of each House shall be entitled to mileage at the same rate as prescribed by law for employees of the State of Texas.

The “book of knowledge” has more

The Texas Legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year.[1]

Only the governor may call the Legislature into special sessions, unlike other states where the legislature may call itself into session. The governor may call as many sessions as he or she desires.

The Texas Constitution limits the duration of each special session to 30 days; lawmakers may consider only those issues designated by the governor in his “call,” or proclamation convening the special session (though other issues may be added by the Governor during a session).

Compensation wise, legislators make $600/month + $221/day per diem while in session (cf. Texas Ethics Commission Rules §50.1 source)

And I’ve learned today there is a pension after 8 years of service, starting at age 60. Not a bad deal for working a few months every other year :ring_buoy:


Thanks for providing this. It’s been a while since I have had to “know” the details. My instincts were correct though, so I will take it as a win.