Year-Round Legislatures vs. Citizen Legislators by State

Here are the advantages, challenges, and varied landscapes of states with year-round legislatures vs citizen legislators.

Navigating State Legislatures: Year-Round vs. Citizen Legislators

There are two types of legislative schedules: those with year-round legislatures and those with citizen legislators. This is a significant distinction shown between the scheduling and nature of legislators' roles and how lobbyists, non-profits, and associations interact with the legislature.

Why it matters: For organizations that are tracking legislation across multiple states the difference in session makes a huge difference in your strategy, timing, and bill-tracking processes.

👀 See when each legislative session starts here.

Dive Deeper

Year-Round Legislatures

In states with year-round legislatures, the legislative session extends throughout the entire year. This setup allows for continuous lawmaking and policy discussions. Legislators in these states dedicate the majority of their time to legislative duties, making it a full-time commitment. 


  • Immediate responses: Year-round legislatures can respond promptly to emerging issues, adapting legislation swiftly.
  • Specialized knowledge: Legislators may have more time to become specialists in certain policy areas,
  • Consistency: A continuous legislative process ensures a steady flow of legislation, maintaining a certain level of consistency.


  • Limited citizen participation: With legislators engaged throughout the year, citizens might find it challenging to actively participate in the legislative process.

Citizen Legislators

In states with citizen legislatures, legislators typically have part-time roles. They convene for a specific period each year, focusing on legislative matters during that time. Outside of the legislative session, many citizen legislators have other professions or responsibilities.


  • Diverse perspectives: Citizen legislators often bring diverse professional backgrounds and experiences to the legislative table.
  • Community connection: Being active in various professions keeps legislators closely connected to the concerns of their communities.
  • Reduced costs: Part-time legislatures can result in lower overall costs for the state, as legislators are not drawing a full-time salary year-round.


  • Limited time for legislation: The restricted time frame for legislative sessions might limit or rush the process.
  • Potential for inconsistency: The periodic nature of legislative sessions can lead to inconsistencies in policy-making.

State-by-State Landscape: Year-Round vs Citizen Legislators by State

Understanding the distinction between year-round and citizen legislatures provides a foundation for understanding the unique dynamics within each state. State governments tailor their legislative structures to align with the diverse priorities and preferences across the nation. For example: 

California (Year-round): With a year-round legislature, California's lawmakers navigate a continuous stream of legislative responsibilities.

Texas (Citizen legislators): Texas operates with a citizen legislature, convening for a limited period to address legislative matters. This allows legislators to maintain connections with their diverse communities.

The choice between year-round and citizen legislators is not one-size-fits-all. Each state's unique challenges, priorities, and traditions shape its legislative approach. 

🔮See how you can keep track of legislation at any time here.

Which States Have Year-Round vs. Citizen (Part-time) Legislators 

The states with year-round Legislators: 

  • California State Legislature
  • Michigan State Legislature
  • New York State Legislature
  • Pennsylvania General Assembly
  • Alaska State Legislature
  • Hawaii State Legislature
  • Illinois State Legislature
  • Massachusetts State Legislature
  • Ohio State Legislature
  • Wisconsin State Legislature

The States with citizen (part-time) Legislators: 

  • Alabama State Legislature
  • Arizona State Legislature
  • Arkansas State Legislature
  • Colorado State Legislature
  • Connecticut State Legislature
  • Delaware State Legislature
  • Florida State Legislature
  • Georgia State Legislature
  • Idaho State Legislature
  • Illinois State Legislature
  • Indiana State Legislature
  • Iowa State Legislature
  • Kansas State Legislature
  • Kentucky State Legislature
  • Louisiana State Legislature
  • Maine State Legislature
  • Maryland State Legislature
  • Minnesota State Legislature
  • Mississippi State Legislature
  • Missouri State Legislature
  • Montana State Legislature
  • Nebraska State Legislature
  • Nevada State Legislature
  • New Hampshire State Legislature
  • New Jersey State Legislature
  • New Mexico State Legislature
  • North Carolina State Legislature
  • North Dakota State Legislature
  • Oklahoma State Legislature
  • Oregon State Legislature
  • Rhode Island State Legislature
  • South Carolina State Legislature
  • South Dakota State Legislature
  • Tennessee State Legislature
  • Texas State Legislature
  • Utah State Legislature
  • Vermont State Legislature
  • Virginia State Legislature
  • Washington State Legislature
  • West Virginia State Legislature
  • Wyoming State Legislature
👀Want to learn more about state government? Check out our blog on The Most Powerful Governors in the U.S.

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