Difference between revisions of "Texas Constitution"

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{{TXConstitution}}{{TOCnestright}}The '''Texas Constitution''' is the document that describes the structure and function of the government of [[Texas]]. The current constitution, which took effect on February 15, 1876, is the state's fifth since Texas became a state.  Prior to statehood, Texas had two constitutions, the Coahuila y Tejas and the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas.  Once statehood was achieved, Texas adopted a constitution in 1845, 1861, 1866, 1869 and the 1876 version.<ref>[http://texashistory.unt.edu/widgets/pager.php?object_id=meta-pth-6727&recno=3&path=/data/UNT/GLT/meta-pth-6727.tkl The 1861 Constitution of Texas]</ref><ref>[http://texashistory.unt.edu/widgets/pager.php?object_id=meta-pth-6727&recno=871&path=/data/UNT/GLT/meta-pth-6727.tkl The 1866 Constitution of Texas].</ref>
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{{TXConstitution}}{{tnr}}The '''Texas Constitution''' is the basic governing document of the state of [[Texas]].  
  
Through 2008, the [[Texas State Legislature|Texas Legislature]] has approved a total of 632 amendments to the constitution. Of these, 456 have been adopted and 176 have been defeated by Texas voters. Altogether, from 1876-2007, the Texas Constitution has been amended 456 times.<ref>[http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/pubsconamend/constamend1876.pdf Amendments to the Texas Constitution from 1876-2008]</ref>
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==Features==
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The Texas Constitution describes the structure and function of the government of [[Texas]]. It consists of a preamble and 17 articles.  
  
The 1876 Constitution is the one of the longest [[State constitution|state constitutions]] in the United States, and one of the oldest still in effect. It has been amended more than 400 times. Although a somewhat chaotic document, it is not nearly as long and chaotic as the [[Alabama Constitution]], which has been amended almost 800 times despite having been adopted 25 years after Texas' current constitution.
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==[[Preamble, Texas Constitution|Preamble]]==
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: ''See also: [[Preambles to state constitutions]]''
  
When the 1876 constitution was adopted, it had 289 sections organized into 17 articles.  Through 2008, 206 new sections have been added, 66 of the original sections have been deleted, and 49 added sections have also been removed.  As a result, the constitution as it stood in 2008 had 380 sections.
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The preamble to the Texas Constitution states:
  
==Constitutional conventions==
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| <center>''Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God the people of the State of Texas do ordain and establish this Constitution.''<ref name="tx">[http://www.constitution.legis.state.tx.us/ ''Texas Constitution and Statutes'', "Texas Constitution," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref></center>
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|}
  
Most of these amendments are due to the document's highly restrictive nature.  The constitution limits the authority of the State of Texas to those powers explicitly granted to it; there is no state equivalent of the necessary-and-proper clause to facilitate controversial legislation. Because of the unwieldiness of the state constitution, there have been several proposals for a constitutional convention to propose a new constitution. In 1974, the Texas Legislature met in joint session as a convention, but failed to propose a new constitution. In 1975, the Legislature, meeting in regular session, revived much of the work of the 1974 convention and proposed it as a set of eight amendments to the existing constitution. All eight of the amendments were rejected by the voters. There have been several subsequent proposals to revise the constitution, but none of those efforts has been successful.  However, several sections (and one entire article) were successfully repealed in 1969.
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==[[Article 1, Texas Constitution|Article 1: Bill of Rights]]==
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Article 1 of the Texas Constitution is entitled the "Bill of Rights" and consists of 37 sections. The article originally contained 29 sections; since 1876, five sections have been added. Most of the article's provisions concern specific fundamental limitations on the power of the state government and certain rights granted to citizens that cannot be ignored under any circumstances.
  
== Preamble ==
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Every provision of the [[Bill of Rights, United States Constitution|first ten amendments to the United States Constitution]] has a counterpart in Article 1 of the Texas Constitution.
  
The preamble to the constitution says, "Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God the people of the State of Texas do ordain and establish this Constitution."
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==[[Article 2, Texas Constitution|Article 2: Power of Government]]==
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Article 1 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as the "Power of Government" and provides for the separation of the powers of the government.
  
== Articles of the Constitution==
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==[[Article 3, Texas Constitution|Article 3: Legislative Department]]==
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Article 3 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Legislative Department" and consists of 67 sections. It vests the [[legislature|legislative power]] of the state in the "Legislature of the State of Texas" and establishes that the legislature consists of the [[Texas Senate]] and [[Texas House of Representatives]].
  
==Article 1 ===
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==[[Article 4, Texas Constitution|Article 4: Executive Department]]==
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Article 4 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as "Executive Department" and consists of 26 sections. It describes the powers and duties the state's executive officials.
  
: ''See text at [[Article 1, Texas Constitution]]''
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==[[Article 5, Texas Constitution|Article 5: Judicial Department]]==
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Article 5 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as the "Judicial Department" and consists of 31 sections. It describes the composition, powers and jurisdiction of the [[Judgepedia:Texas Supreme Court|Texas Supreme Court]], the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals, the District, County and Commissioners Courts and the Justice of the Peace Courts.
  
Article One is the Texas Constitution's bill of rights. The article originally contained 29  sections; since 1876, five sections have been added. Most of the article's provisions concern specific fundamental limitations on the power of the state government and certain rights granted to citizens that cannot be ignored under any circumstances.
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==[[Article 6, Texas Constitution|Article 6: Suffrage]]==
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Article 6 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Suffrage" and consists of six sections. This article denies voting rights to minors, felons and people who are deemed mentally incompetent by a court.
  
Many of the rights-related provisions of the federal constitution have counterparts in Article One. Every provision of the first ten amendments to the federal constitution&mdash;the United States Bill of Rights&mdash;has such a counterpart. Several other provisions from the main body of the federal constitution, such as its prohibitions of ex post facto laws and bills of attainder, also have counterparts. The provisions in the Texas constitution, however, are generally wordier and more particularistic than their federal counterparts.
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==[[Article 7, Texas Constitution|Article 7: Education]]==
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Article 7 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Education" and consists of 19 sections. It establishes provisions for public schools, asylums and universities. This article also discusses the creation and maintenance of the Permanent University Fund and mandates the establishment of a "university of the first class" (the University of Texas) as well as an agricultural and mechanical university (Texas A&M University).<ref name="tx"/>
  
The provisions of the Texas constitution apply only against the government of Texas. However, a number of the provisions of the federal constitution are held to apply both to the states as well under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the federal constitution. This means that the Texas courts must interpret a duplicated state provision, such as the freedom of speech, at least as broadly as the federal courts do its federal counterpart. The Texas courts may (but are not required to) interpret the state provision more broadly, ruling that it limits government power more than its federal counterpart (Braden, 1972).
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==[[Article 8, Texas Constitution|Article 8: Taxation and Revenue]]==
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Article 8 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Taxation and Revenue" and consists of 24 sections. It places various restrictions on the ability of the Legislature and local governments to impose taxes. Most of these restriction concern local [[property tax]]es and, in some cases, prohibits statewide [[property tax]]es). Texas does not have a personal income tax, and  section 24, added by an amendment adopted in 1993, restricts the ability of the [[Texas State Legislature]] to impose such a tax.  
  
Section 4 prohibits office holders from the requirements of any religious test, provided they "acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being." The latter requirement appears to contradict a prohibition on any kind of religious test located in Article 6 of the federal constitution.  Since it would almost certainly be struck down by the federal courts if challenged, it is rarely (if ever) enforced.
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==[[Article 9, Texas Constitution|Article 9: Counties]]==
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Article 9 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as "Counties" and consists of 17 sections. It provides rules for the creation of counties and determining the location of county seats.
  
Section 32 comprises Texas' Defense of marriage amendment, adopted in November 2005.
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==[[Article 10, Texas Constitution|Article 10: Railroads]]==
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Article 10 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Railroads." It originally consisted of nine sections, but one has been repealed.  
  
=== Article 2===
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==[[Article 11, Texas Constitution|Article 11: Municipal Corporations]]==
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Article 11 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Municipal Corporations" and consists of 13 sections, of which two have been repealed. It recognizes counties as legal political subunits of the state, grants certain powers to cities and counties and empowers the legislature to form school districts.
  
:: ''(See text at [[Article 2, Texas Constitution]])''
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==[[Article 12, Texas Constitution|Article 12: Private Corporations]]==
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Article 12 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Private Corporations" and consists of seven sections, of which five have been repealed.
  
Provides for the separation of the powers of the government.
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==[[Article 13, Texas Constitution|Article 13: Spanish and Mexican Land Titles]]==
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Article 13 of the Texas Constitution was repealed on August 5, 1969. It was labeled as "Spanish and Mexican Land Titles" and established provisions for Spanish and Mexican land titles.
  
=== Article 3===
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==[[Article 14, Texas Constitution|Article 14: Public Lands and Land Office]]==
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Article 14 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as "Public Lands and Land Office" and consists of its eight sections, of which all but one were repealed in 1969. Its single section establishes the General Land Office and the office of commissioner of the General Land Office.
  
:: ''(See text at [[Article 3, Texas Constitution]])''
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==[[Article 15, Texas Constitution|Article 15: Impeachment]]==
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Article 15 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Impeachment" and consists of nine sections. It lays out the rules under which Texas government officials can be removed from office and describes the process of impeachment. The [[Texas House of Representatives]] is granted the power of impeachment.
  
Article 3 vests the [[legislature|legislative power]] of the state in the "Legislature of the State of Texas," and establishes that the legislature consists of the state Senate and House of Representatives. It also lists the qualifications required of senators and representatives and regulates the details of the legislative process. Finally, the article contains many substantive limitations on the power of the legislature and a large number of exceptions to those limitations. In particular, [http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/txconst/sections/cn000300-004900.html Section 49] limits the power of the legislature to incur debt, while numerous other sections following Section 49 permit the legislature to issue bonds for specific purposes.
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==[[Article 16, Texas Constitution|Article 16: General Provisions]]==
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Article 16 of the Texas Constitution is entitled "General Provisions" and consists of 76 sections.
  
As with the United States Constitution, either house may originate bills ([http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/txconst/sections/cn000300-003300.html Section 31]), but bills to raise revenue must originate in the House of Representatives ([http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/txconst/sections/cn000300-003300.html Section 33]).
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Miscellaneous provisions include limits on interest rates, civil penalties for murder, the punishment for bribery, prohibits garnishment of wages and provides for the constitutional protection of a mechanic's lien.
  
In addition, [http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/txconst/sections/cn000300-0049a0.html Section 49a] requires the Comptroller of Public Accounts to certify the amount of available cash on hand and anticipated revenues for the next biennium; no appropriation may exceed this amount (except in cases of emergency and then only with a 4/5ths vote of both chambers), and the Comptroller is permitted to reject and return to the Legislature any appropriation in violation of this requirement.
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==[[Article 17, Texas Constitution|Article 17: Mode of Amending the Constitution of This State]]==
 
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Article 17 of the Texas Constitution is entitled "Mode of Amending the Constitution of This State" and consists of two sections, of which one has been repealed. It prescribes the procedure for amending the constitution.  
=== Article 4===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 4, Texas Constitution]])''
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Describes the powers and duties of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, comptroller of public accounts, commissioner of the general land office, and attorney general.  With the exception of the secretary of state the above officials are directly elected; the lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor (not as a team).
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Under section 16 of this article, the Lieutenant-Governor automatically assumes the power of Governor if and when the Governor travels outside of the state of Texas, for whatever reason.
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=== Article 5===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 5, Texas Constitution]])''
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Describes the composition, powers, and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals, the District, County, and Commissioners Courts, and the Justice of the Peace Courts.  See Texas judicial system for comments regarding the complicated structure of the Texas court system.
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=== Article 6===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 6, Texas Constitution]])''
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Denies voting rights to minors, felons, and people who are deemed mentally incompentent by a court (though the Legislature may make exceptions in the latter two cases). Describes rules for elections.
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=== Article 7===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 7, Texas Constitution]])''
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Establishes provisions for public schools, asylums, and universities.  .." . it shall be DUTY OF THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools" (Article 7, Texas Constitution).  This issue has surfaced in recent lawsuits involving the State's funding of education and restrictions it has placed on local school districts.  This Article also discusses the creation and maintenance of the Permanent University Fund and mandates the establishment of a "university of the first class" (the University of Texas) as well as an agricultural and mechanical university (Texas A&M University).
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=== Article 8===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 8, Texas Constitution]])''
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[[Article 8, Texas Constitution|Article 8]] places various restrictions on the ability of the Legislature and local governments to impose taxes. Most of these restriction concern local [[property tax]]es ([http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/txconst/sections/cn000800-01-e00.html Section 1-e] prohibits statewide [[property tax]]es).
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Texas does not have a personal income tax. [http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/txconst/sections/cn000800-002400.html Section 24] of the article, added by an amendment adopted in 1993, restricts the ability of the Legislature to impose such a tax. Under the section, a law imposing a personal income tax must be ratified in a state-wide [[referendum]] to take effect; any further change in the tax must also be ratified to take effect, if it would increase the "collective liability" of all persons subject to the tax. The proceeds from the tax must first be used reduce local school [[property tax]]es, with any remainder being used for the support of education.
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No such restriction exists on imposition of a corporate income tax or similar tax; in May 2006 the Legislature replaced the existing franchise tax with a gross receipts tax.
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=== Article 9===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 9, Texas Constitution]])''
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Provides rules for the creation of counties and determining the location of county seats.  It also includes several provisions regarding the creation of county-wide hospital districts in specified counties, as well as other miscellaneous provisions regarding airports and mental health.
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=== Article 10===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 10, Texas Constitution]])''
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Contains a single section declaring that railroads are considered "public highways" and railroad carriers "common carriers." (This section may not have much force of law, as railroad operations, even those where a railroad physically exists in only one state, are governed by the Surface Transportation Board, a federal agency.)  Eight other sections were repealed in 1969.
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=== Article 11===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 11, Texas Constitution]])''
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Recognizes counties as legal political subunits of the State, grants certain powers to cities and counties, empowers the legislature to form school districts.
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=== Article 12===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 12, Texas Constitution]])''
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Article 12 contains two sections directing the legislature to enact general laws for the creation of private corporations and prohibiting the creation of private corporations by special law. Four other sections were repealed in 1969 and a fifth section in 1993.
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=== Article 13===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 13, Texas Constitution]])''
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Established provisions for Spanish and Mexican land titles; this article was repealed in its entirety in 1969.
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=== Article 14===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 14, Texas Constitution]])''
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Article 14 contains a single section establishing the General Land Office and the office of commissioner of the General Land Office. Six other sections were repealed in 1969.
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=== Article 15===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 15, Texas Constitution]])''
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Describes the process of impeachment and lists grounds on which to impeach judges. The House of Representatives is granted the power of impeachment.
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=== Article 16===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 16, Texas Constitution]])''
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Contains miscellaneous provisions, including limits on interest rates, civil penalties for murder, and the punishment for bribery.
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Section 15 discusses that Texas is a community property state.
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Section 28 prohibits garnishment of wages, except for spousal maintenance and child support payments (however, this does not limit Federal garnishment for items such as student loan payments or income taxes).
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Section 37 provides for the constitutional protection of the mechanic's lien.
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Although Texas is a right-to-work state, such protections are governed by law; Texas does not have a constitutional protection for right-to-work.
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=== Article 17===
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:: ''(See text at [[Article 17, Texas Constitution]])''
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Article 17 consists of a single section that prescribes the procedure for amending the constitution. The legislature, by a two-thirds vote of the membership of each house, may propose amendments in either regular or special session. Amendments in a special session must relate to one of the purposes for which the governor has called the session. An amendment becomes part of the constitution when approved by a majority of the persons voting in a statewide election.
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According to an opinion of the [[Attorney General of Texas]] in 1971, the governor has no role in this process and can neither approve nor veto proposed amendments. 
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The constitution does not provide for amendment by [[initiative and referendum|initiative]] or any other means of amendment; only the Legislature may propose them.
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The section also prescribes specific details for notifying the public of elections to vote on proposed amendments. It requires that the legislature publish a notice in officially approved newspapers that briefly summarizes each amendment and shows how each amendment will be described on the ballot. It also requires that the full text of each amendment be posted at each county courthouse, at least 50 days (but no sooner than 60 days) before the election.
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==Amending the constitution==
 
==Amending the constitution==
 
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:: ''See also: [[Amending state constitutions]], [[Laws governing ballot measures in Texas]] and [[Article 17, Texas Constitution]]''
:: ''See also: [[Amending state constitutions]]
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As laid out in [[Article 17, Texas Constitution|Article 17]], in order for a proposed [[constitutional amendment]] to go before the people, the [[Texas State Legislature]] must propose the amendment in a joint resolution of both the [[Texas State Senate]] and the [[Texas House of Representatives]].  The joint resolution can originate in either the House or the Senate.  The resolution must be adopted by a vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature.  That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Senate.
 
As laid out in [[Article 17, Texas Constitution|Article 17]], in order for a proposed [[constitutional amendment]] to go before the people, the [[Texas State Legislature]] must propose the amendment in a joint resolution of both the [[Texas State Senate]] and the [[Texas House of Representatives]].  The joint resolution can originate in either the House or the Senate.  The resolution must be adopted by a vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature.  That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Senate.
  
Amendments may be proposed in either regular or special sessions. Prior to 1972, amendments could only be proposed during regular sessions but in 1972, the state's voters approved an amendment that changed this so that amendments could also be proposed during special legislative sessions.  (In 1935 and 1971, voters rejected proposed amendments making that change.)
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Amendments may be proposed in either regular or special sessions.
  
 
Joint resolutions endorsing a proposed amendment must include the text of the proposed constitutional amendment and specify an election date. These joint resolutions may include more than one proposed amendment.
 
Joint resolutions endorsing a proposed amendment must include the text of the proposed constitutional amendment and specify an election date. These joint resolutions may include more than one proposed amendment.
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If voters reject an amendment, the legislature can resubmit it. For example, after [[Texas Proposition 2 (August 1991)|Proposition 2]] was rejected in August 1991, the legislature re-adopted it and re-submitted it for that year's  November ballot, where it was approved as [[Texas Proposition 13 (1991)]].
 
If voters reject an amendment, the legislature can resubmit it. For example, after [[Texas Proposition 2 (August 1991)|Proposition 2]] was rejected in August 1991, the legislature re-adopted it and re-submitted it for that year's  November ballot, where it was approved as [[Texas Proposition 13 (1991)]].
  
The ballot wording of a proposition is specified in the joint resolution adopted by the Legislature, which has broad discretion in this matter.  Texas courts have heard challenges to proposed ballot wording but have generally ruled that "ballot language is sufficient if it describes the proposed amendment with such definiteness and certainty that voters will not be misled." (See ''[[Hill v. Evans (1967)]]'')<ref>[http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/scanned/Constitutional_Amendments/amendments76_HRO_1999-11-02.pdf Texas Legislative Library description of amendment procedure, p. 3]</ref>
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The ballot wording of a proposition is specified in the joint resolution adopted by the Legislature, which has broad discretion in this matter.  Texas courts have heard challenges to proposed ballot wording but have generally ruled that "ballot language is sufficient if it describes the proposed amendment with such definiteness and certainty that voters will not be misled."<ref>[http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/scanned/Constitutional_Amendments/amendments76_HRO_1999-11-02.pdf ''Texas Legislative Library'', "Description of amendment procedure," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
  
 
The Legislature may call an election for voter consideration of proposed constitutional amendments on any date, as long as election authorities have sufficient time to provide notice to the voters and print the ballots.
 
The Legislature may call an election for voter consideration of proposed constitutional amendments on any date, as long as election authorities have sufficient time to provide notice to the voters and print the ballots.
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Constitutional amendments take effect when the official vote canvass confirms statewide majority approval, unless a later date is specified. Statewide election results are tabulated by the secretary of state and must be canvassed by the governor 15 to 30 days following the election.
 
Constitutional amendments take effect when the official vote canvass confirms statewide majority approval, unless a later date is specified. Statewide election results are tabulated by the secretary of state and must be canvassed by the governor 15 to 30 days following the election.
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==History==
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The current constitution, which took effect on February 15, 1876, is the state's fifth constitution since Texas became a state. Prior to statehood, Texas had two constitutions, the Coahuila y Tejas and the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas.<ref>[http://www.lsjunction.com/facts/constitu.htm ''Lone Star Junction'', "The Constitution of Texas," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref> Once statehood was achieved, Texas adopted a constitution in 1845, 1861, 1866, 1869 and 1876.<ref>[http://texashistory.unt.edu/widgets/pager.php?object_id=meta-pth-6727&recno=3&path=/data/UNT/GLT/meta-pth-6727.tkl ''Texas History'', "The 1861 Constitution of Texas," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref><ref>[http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/7_1_0.html ''University of Texas: Austin - Texas Politics'', "The Constitution," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
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The 1876 Texas Constitution, the fifth since statehood, had 289 sections organized into 17 articles. Over the years, 211 new sections have been added, while 66 of the original sections and 49 of the added sections have been removed, so that the Texas Constitution today has 385 sections. Since 1876, the legislature has proposed 656 constitutional amendments, and 653 have gone before Texas voters. Of the amendments on the ballot, 474 have been approved by the electorate and 179 have been defeated. The other three amendments never made it to the ballot for reasons that are historically obscure.<ref>[http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/pubsconamend/constamend1876.pdf ''Texas.gov'', "Amendments to the Texas Constitution Since 1876," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
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The 1876 Constitution is the one of the longest [[State constitution|state constitutions]] in the United States and one of the oldest still in effect. Although a somewhat chaotic document, it is not nearly as long and chaotic as the [[Alabama Constitution]], which has been amended almost 800 times despite having been adopted 25 years after the current Texas constitution.
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==See also==
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[[File:StateConstitutions Ballotpedia.jpg|right|175px]]
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* [[State constitution]]
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* [[Constitutional article]]
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* [[Constitutional amendment]]
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* [[Constitutional revision]]
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* [[Constitutional convention]]
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* [[Amendment|Amendments]]
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** [[Initiated constitutional amendment]]
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** [[Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment]]
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** [[Publication requirements for proposed state constitutional amendments]]
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** [[Rules about constitutional conventions in state constitutions]]
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** [[State constitutional articles governing state legislatures]]
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
 
{{submit a link}}
 
{{submit a link}}
* [http://www.constitution.legis.state.tx.us/ The Texas Constitution]: Current text of the constitution, provided by the Texas Legislative Council
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* [http://www.constitution.legis.state.tx.us/ ''Texas Constitution and Statutes'', "Texas Constitution"]
* [http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/index.html Texas Politics]: Texas government resource provided by the University of Texas at Austin
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* [http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/treasures/constitution/ Texas Treasures - Texas Constitution]: Images of the original 1876 Constitution, provided by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission
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* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/widgets/pager.php?object_id=meta-pth-5872&recno=1077&path=/data/UNT/GLT/meta-pth-5872.tkl Constitution of the Republic, 1836] from [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-5872 Gammel's Laws of Texas, Vol. I.] hosted by the [http://texashistory.unt.edu/ Portal to Texas History].
 
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/widgets/pager.php?object_id=meta-pth-5872&recno=1077&path=/data/UNT/GLT/meta-pth-5872.tkl Constitution of the Republic, 1836] from [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-5872 Gammel's Laws of Texas, Vol. I.] hosted by the [http://texashistory.unt.edu/ Portal to Texas History].
 
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/widgets/pager.php?object_id=meta-pth-6727&recno=3&path=/data/UNT/GLT/meta-pth-6727.tkl Constitution of the State of Texas, 1861] from [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-6727 Gammel's Laws of Texas, Vol. V.] hosted by the [http://texashistory.unt.edu/ Portal to Texas History].
 
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/widgets/pager.php?object_id=meta-pth-6727&recno=3&path=/data/UNT/GLT/meta-pth-6727.tkl Constitution of the State of Texas, 1861] from [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-6727 Gammel's Laws of Texas, Vol. V.] hosted by the [http://texashistory.unt.edu/ Portal to Texas History].
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* [http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/index2.html Texas Constitutions Digitization Project]: Electronic texts of the various Texas constitutions, including the original, unamended text of the 1876 constitution
 
* [http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/index2.html Texas Constitutions Digitization Project]: Electronic texts of the various Texas constitutions, including the original, unamended text of the 1876 constitution
 
* [http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legis/constAmends/lrlhome.cfm Texas Legislative Research Library - Constitutional amendments search]: A search engine that retrieves summaries of proposed amendments, both adopted and defeated
 
* [http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legis/constAmends/lrlhome.cfm Texas Legislative Research Library - Constitutional amendments search]: A search engine that retrieves summaries of proposed amendments, both adopted and defeated
* [http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/pubsconamend/constamend1876.pdf Amendments to the Texas Constitution from 1876-2008]
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* [http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/pubsconamend/constamend1876.pdf Amendments to the Texas Constitution from 1876-present]
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* [https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mhc07 ''Texas State Historical Society'', "Constitution of 1876"]
  
==References==
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==Additional reading==
{{reflist|2}}
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* [http://books.google.com/books?id=xT2t2_BFpJkC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false May, Janice C. (1996). ''The Texas State Constitution: A Reference Guide'', Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishers]
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* [http://www.constitution.org/reform/us/tx/const/braden.htm Braden, George. (1972). ''Citizens' guide to the Texas Constitution'', Austin, Texas: Texas Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations]
 +
* Hill, John L., ed. (1976). ''Constitution of the State of Texas.'' Austin, Texas: Office of the Attorney General of Texas
  
==Research sources==
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==References==
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{{reflist}}
  
* Braden, George (1972). Citizens' guide to the Texas Constitution. Austin: Texas Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. 
 
* Hill, John L., ed. (1976). ''Constitution of the State of Texas.'' Austin: [Office of the Attorney General of Texas].
 
** ''Includes the text of the constitution as of November 2, 1976, along with a brief informational introduction.''
 
 
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Revision as of 22:47, 6 April 2014

Texas Constitution
Seal of Texas.svg.png
Preamble
Articles
12
3 (1-43)3 (44-49)3 (50-67)
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The Texas Constitution is the basic governing document of the state of Texas.

Features

The Texas Constitution describes the structure and function of the government of Texas. It consists of a preamble and 17 articles.

Preamble

See also: Preambles to state constitutions

The preamble to the Texas Constitution states:

Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God the people of the State of Texas do ordain and establish this Constitution.[1]

Article 1: Bill of Rights

Article 1 of the Texas Constitution is entitled the "Bill of Rights" and consists of 37 sections. The article originally contained 29 sections; since 1876, five sections have been added. Most of the article's provisions concern specific fundamental limitations on the power of the state government and certain rights granted to citizens that cannot be ignored under any circumstances.

Every provision of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution has a counterpart in Article 1 of the Texas Constitution.

Article 2: Power of Government

Article 1 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as the "Power of Government" and provides for the separation of the powers of the government.

Article 3: Legislative Department

Article 3 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Legislative Department" and consists of 67 sections. It vests the legislative power of the state in the "Legislature of the State of Texas" and establishes that the legislature consists of the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives.

Article 4: Executive Department

Article 4 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as "Executive Department" and consists of 26 sections. It describes the powers and duties the state's executive officials.

Article 5: Judicial Department

Article 5 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as the "Judicial Department" and consists of 31 sections. It describes the composition, powers and jurisdiction of the Texas Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals, the District, County and Commissioners Courts and the Justice of the Peace Courts.

Article 6: Suffrage

Article 6 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Suffrage" and consists of six sections. This article denies voting rights to minors, felons and people who are deemed mentally incompetent by a court.

Article 7: Education

Article 7 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Education" and consists of 19 sections. It establishes provisions for public schools, asylums and universities. This article also discusses the creation and maintenance of the Permanent University Fund and mandates the establishment of a "university of the first class" (the University of Texas) as well as an agricultural and mechanical university (Texas A&M University).[1]

Article 8: Taxation and Revenue

Article 8 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Taxation and Revenue" and consists of 24 sections. It places various restrictions on the ability of the Legislature and local governments to impose taxes. Most of these restriction concern local property taxes and, in some cases, prohibits statewide property taxes). Texas does not have a personal income tax, and section 24, added by an amendment adopted in 1993, restricts the ability of the Texas State Legislature to impose such a tax.

Article 9: Counties

Article 9 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as "Counties" and consists of 17 sections. It provides rules for the creation of counties and determining the location of county seats.

Article 10: Railroads

Article 10 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Railroads." It originally consisted of nine sections, but one has been repealed.

Article 11: Municipal Corporations

Article 11 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Municipal Corporations" and consists of 13 sections, of which two have been repealed. It recognizes counties as legal political subunits of the state, grants certain powers to cities and counties and empowers the legislature to form school districts.

Article 12: Private Corporations

Article 12 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Private Corporations" and consists of seven sections, of which five have been repealed.

Article 13: Spanish and Mexican Land Titles

Article 13 of the Texas Constitution was repealed on August 5, 1969. It was labeled as "Spanish and Mexican Land Titles" and established provisions for Spanish and Mexican land titles.

Article 14: Public Lands and Land Office

Article 14 of the Texas Constitution is labeled as "Public Lands and Land Office" and consists of its eight sections, of which all but one were repealed in 1969. Its single section establishes the General Land Office and the office of commissioner of the General Land Office.

Article 15: Impeachment

Article 15 of the Texas Constitution is labeled "Impeachment" and consists of nine sections. It lays out the rules under which Texas government officials can be removed from office and describes the process of impeachment. The Texas House of Representatives is granted the power of impeachment.

Article 16: General Provisions

Article 16 of the Texas Constitution is entitled "General Provisions" and consists of 76 sections.

Miscellaneous provisions include limits on interest rates, civil penalties for murder, the punishment for bribery, prohibits garnishment of wages and provides for the constitutional protection of a mechanic's lien.

Article 17: Mode of Amending the Constitution of This State

Article 17 of the Texas Constitution is entitled "Mode of Amending the Constitution of This State" and consists of two sections, of which one has been repealed. It prescribes the procedure for amending the constitution.

Amending the constitution

See also: Amending state constitutions, Laws governing ballot measures in Texas and Article 17, Texas Constitution

As laid out in Article 17, in order for a proposed constitutional amendment to go before the people, the Texas State Legislature must propose the amendment in a joint resolution of both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. The joint resolution can originate in either the House or the Senate. The resolution must be adopted by a vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature. That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Senate.

Amendments may be proposed in either regular or special sessions.

Joint resolutions endorsing a proposed amendment must include the text of the proposed constitutional amendment and specify an election date. These joint resolutions may include more than one proposed amendment.

If more than one proposition is under consideration on a ballot, the Texas Secretary of State conducts a random drawing to assign each proposition a ballot number.

If voters reject an amendment, the legislature can resubmit it. For example, after Proposition 2 was rejected in August 1991, the legislature re-adopted it and re-submitted it for that year's November ballot, where it was approved as Texas Proposition 13 (1991).

The ballot wording of a proposition is specified in the joint resolution adopted by the Legislature, which has broad discretion in this matter. Texas courts have heard challenges to proposed ballot wording but have generally ruled that "ballot language is sufficient if it describes the proposed amendment with such definiteness and certainty that voters will not be misled."[2]

The Legislature may call an election for voter consideration of proposed constitutional amendments on any date, as long as election authorities have sufficient time to provide notice to the voters and print the ballots.

A brief explanatory statement of the nature of each proposed amendment, along with the ballot wording for each amendment, must be published twice in each newspaper in the state that prints official notices. The first notice must be published 50 to 60 days before the election. The second notice must be published on the same day of the subsequent week. The secretary of state must send a complete copy of each amendment to each county clerk, who must post it in the courthouse at least 30 days prior to the election.

The secretary of state drafts the ballot explanation. This must be approved by the Attorney General of Texas.

Constitutional amendments take effect when the official vote canvass confirms statewide majority approval, unless a later date is specified. Statewide election results are tabulated by the secretary of state and must be canvassed by the governor 15 to 30 days following the election.

History

The current constitution, which took effect on February 15, 1876, is the state's fifth constitution since Texas became a state. Prior to statehood, Texas had two constitutions, the Coahuila y Tejas and the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas.[3] Once statehood was achieved, Texas adopted a constitution in 1845, 1861, 1866, 1869 and 1876.[4][5]

The 1876 Texas Constitution, the fifth since statehood, had 289 sections organized into 17 articles. Over the years, 211 new sections have been added, while 66 of the original sections and 49 of the added sections have been removed, so that the Texas Constitution today has 385 sections. Since 1876, the legislature has proposed 656 constitutional amendments, and 653 have gone before Texas voters. Of the amendments on the ballot, 474 have been approved by the electorate and 179 have been defeated. The other three amendments never made it to the ballot for reasons that are historically obscure.[6]

The 1876 Constitution is the one of the longest state constitutions in the United States and one of the oldest still in effect. Although a somewhat chaotic document, it is not nearly as long and chaotic as the Alabama Constitution, which has been amended almost 800 times despite having been adopted 25 years after the current Texas constitution.

See also

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External links

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Additional reading

References