In a legislature, a special session is a period when the body convenes outside of the normal legislative session.
A legislative session is the period of time in which a legislature, in both parliamentary and presidential systems, is convened for purpose of lawmaking, usually being one of two or more smaller divisions of the entire time between two elections.
A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city.
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This most frequently occurs in order to complete unfinished tasks for the year, such as outlining the government's budget for the next fiscal year, biennium, or other period.
A fiscal year is a period used for calculating annual financial statements in businesses and other organizations all over the world.
A budget is a quantitative expression of a plan for a defined period of time.
A government is the system by which a state or community is controlled.
Special sessions may also be called during an economic downturn in order to cut the budget.
In other cases, a special session may be convened to address special topics, or emergencies such as war or natural disaster.
A natural disaster is a major adverse event resulting from natural processes of the Earth; examples include floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other geologic processes.
Who calls a special session varies - by vote of the legislature during regular session, by the executive, or by the legislature's speaker or presiding officer.
The United Nations has both special sessions and emergency special sessions.