The Constitution of the State of Texas is the document that describes the structure and function of the government of the U.S. State of Texas. Texas has had 7 constitutions, and the current one is the 1876 constitution. The current 1876 Constitution is among the longest of state constitutions in the United States. There are 17 articles in the Texas Constitution, which starts with the Preamble. The Preamble states “Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God, the people of the State of Texas, do ordain and establish this Constitution.” Article One is the Texas Constitution’s bill of rights. 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. Article Two provides for the separation of the powers of the government.
Article 3 vests the 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. Article Four 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. Article Five 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. Article Six denies voting rights to minors, felons, and people who are deemed mentally incompetent by a court. Article Seven is about education, while Article Eight and Nine discuss about taxation and revenue, and counties respectively.
The Texas Constitution also discusses these aspects in particular: Railroads, municipal corporations, Spanish and Mexican land titles, public land and land office, impeachment, general provisions, and mode of amending the Constitution of this State. Since its initial adoption, as of November 2011 a total of 653 amendments have been proposed, of which 474 were approved by voters and 179 were rejected. Most of the amendments are due to the document’s highly restrictive nature – the Texas Constitution states that the State of Texas has only those powers explicitly granted to it; there is no state equivalent of the Necessary and Proper Clause contained within. Thus, the Texas Constitution functions as a limiting document.
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