Ryans TX Constitution
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Article 1: "Bill of Rights"
"All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient."
Article 2: "The Powers of Government"
Provides for the separation of the powers of the government. It also states that the government is not allowed to take over other governments. That all power must be separated equally between governments.
Article 3: "Legislative Department"
Article 3 vests the legislative power of the state in the "Legislature of the State of Texas", and establishes that the legislature consists of thestate 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, Section 49 limits the power of the legislature to incur debt, while numerous other sections following Section 49 (including two sections both curiously numbered as "49-n") permit the legislature to issue bonds for specific purposes. Section 66 created the state's "Rainy Day Fund".
Article 4: "Executive Department"
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 in what is known as a plural executive system; the lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor (not as a team), as are other officials such as the Comptroller of public accounts, commissioner of the general land office, and attorney general.
Article 5: "Judicial Department
Describes the composition, powers, and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal 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.
Article 6: "Suffrage"
Denies voting rights to minors, felons, and people who are deemed mentally incompetent by a court (though the Legislature may make exceptions in the latter two cases). Describes rules for elections.
Article 7: "Education"
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.
Article 8: "Taxation and Revenue"
Article 8 places various restrictions on the ability of the Legislature and local governments to impose taxes. Most of these restrictions concern local property taxes. (Section 1-e prohibits statewide property taxes.)
Article 9: "Counties"
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.
Article 10: "Railroads"
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.
Article 11: "Municipal Corporations"
Recognizes counties as legal political subunits of the State, grants certain powers to cities and counties, empowers the legislature to form school districts.
Article 12: "Private Corporations"
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.
Article 13: "Spanish and Mexican Land Titles
Established provisions for Spanish and Mexican land titles; These titles were from the Mexican War Era as a way of trying to please the Mexican government. This article was repealed in its entirety in 1969.
Article 14: "Public Lands and Land Office"
Article 14 contains a single section establishing the General Land Office and the office of commissioner of the General Land Office. Seven other sections were repealed in 1969
Article 15: "Impeachment"
Describes the process of impeachment and lists grounds on which to impeach judges. The House of Representatives is granted the power of impeachment.
Article 16: "General Provisions"
Contains miscellaneous provisions, including limits on interest rates, civil penalties for murder, and the punishment for bribery.Section 15 provides that Texas is a community property state.
Article 17: "Mode of amending the Constitution of this State"
Notwithstanding the large number of amendments (and proposed amendments) that the constitution has had since its inception, the only method of amending the constitution prescribed by Article 17 is via the legislature, subject to voter approval. The constitution does not provide for amendment by initiative, constitutional convention, or any other means. A 1974 constitutional convention required the voters to amend the Constitution to add a separate section to this Article; the section was later repealed in 1999.
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