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Government Texas 2306

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  1. GovernmentTexas 2306 Unit 2 The Texas Constitution

  2. Texas Constitutional History • 1827 Constitution of Coahuila y Tejas • 1836 Texas Republic Constitution • 1845 Statehood Constitution • 1861 Confederacy Constitution • 1866 Readmission Constitution • 1869 Reconstruction Constitution • 1876 Constitution

  3. Reconstruction Constitution of 1869 • Created a modern state government • Created a strong state government • Weakened local government • Created a strong governor4 year term; high salary, appointive powers • Annual legislative sessions • Black equality

  4. Constitutional Convention of 1875 • Weaken state government • Place fiscal limits on government Two Major Goals

  5. Delegates to 1875 Constitutional Convention 90 Delegates: • 75 Democrats & 15 Republicans • 41 farmers • 38 Grange members • 29 lawyers • 20+ ex-Confederate army officers • 84 whites & 6 blacks (all Republican)

  6. 1876 Constitution • 1.Weakened Governor • 2. Weakened Legislature • 3. Fragmented Court System • 4. Restricted Public Education • 5. Limited Public Debt • 6. Restricted Powers to Tax & Spend • 7. Strengthened Local Government • 8. Provided Regulations on RR & Businesses

  7. Governor • Shortened Term from 4 to 2 years • Appointment powers limited • Judges now elected • Plural Executive—dept. heads elected • Removal powers limited • Directive powers (to issue executive orders) limited

  8. Legislature • Biennial legislative sessions • Salary reduced, put in constitution -$7,200 • Constitutional rules • All bills-3 readings on 3 different days • All bills must 2 House & 2 Senate floor votes

  9. Judiciary • Fragmented court system • Dual court structure • Low qualifications • Lower courts – no official records kept

  10. Restricted Public Education • Power to run public schools taken away from state government • Power to run public schools given to local government—locally elected school boards

  11. Fiscal Limits • Limited Public Debt • Limited to $200,000 maximum • Restricted Powers to Tax & Spend • No state income tax without voter approval • Constitution requires balanced budget • Comptroller issues revenue estimate = maximum spending limit of state budget

  12. Final Provisions • Strengthened Local Government • Local courts created • Public schools locally run • Provided Regulations on RR & Businesses

  13. Good Points • Weaker state government = less chance of abuse of power • Limits on taxing, spending, & borrowing- keeps spending & taxes lower and no state deficit. • Stronger local government makes it easier for citizens to influence important decisions affecting their daily lives • Regulation of railroads & corporations

  14. Bad Points • Not a forward looking document • Too long • Excessive detail • Outdated sections • Badly written • Too restrictive • Diffusion of power = no leadership • To develop state programs-must amend constitution

  15. Articles of the Texas Constitution

  16. STATE CONSTITUTIONSA COMPARISON1 AVERAGE LENGTH • ·National ave: 30,000 words • ·Texas Const.: 93,000+ words • ·US. Const.: 8,700 words

  17. STATE CONSTITUTIONSA COMPARISON2 AVERAGE NO. OF AMENDMENTS • ·National average: 117 amends. • ·Texas Const.: 455 amends. (as of Nov. 2007) • ·US Const.: 27 amends.

  18. State Constitutions-Length & Amendments

  19. TEXAS CONSTITUTION& THE 3 BRANCHES1 GOVERNOR ·Weak figure-head – ·Limited appointment, removal, & directive powers · Ranked 50th (1971) & 36th (1996)

  20. Constitutional Powers of State Governors

  21. TEXAS CONSTITUTION& THE 3 BRANCHES2 TEXAS LEGISLATURE • Part-time—biennial sessions--maximum of 140 days • Low paid - $7,200/year • Inadequate staff • Excessive constitutional rules • Ranked 36th

  22. Legislative Salaries & Per Diem Pay –10 Megastates

  23. TEXAS CONSTITUTION& THE 3 BRANCHES3 TEXAS JUDICIARY • Dual Court System • Judges elected in partisan elections & low qualifications • Ranked 42nd

  24. TEXAS CONSTITUTION& THE 3 BRANCHES4 RESULT: oA power vacuum filled by lobbyists & interest groups o Little regulation, leadership, & oversight

  25. Amendment Process • TEXAS ·  Need 2/3 majority approval of Texas House & Senate ·  Ratification by voters-simple majority • UNITED STATES ·  Need a 2/3 majority of U.S. House & Senate · Need a ratification by ¾ (38) of State Legislatures

  26. Texas Constitutional Amendments - 1879-1997

  27. Constitutional Revision Attempts • 1957- Texas Legislative Council • 1966 - Governor Connally & Study Commission • 1971-74 - Study Commission & Constitutional Convention • 1975 - Election – 8 constitutional provisions

  28. Reasons for Failure • Anti change conservative philosophy • Ignorance of the Public • Public Apathy • Organized opposition of powerful wealthy interest groups