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GOVT 2302

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  1. GOVT 2302 The Texas Legislature – Constitutional Design

  2. The Constitutional Design of the Texas Legislature

  3. The Texas Legislature: Article Three of the Texas ConstitutionYou might want to also read the legislature’s entry in the Handbook of Texas Online.

  4. Here is a link to the original wording of Article 3 of the 1876 Constitution.It had 58 Sections and 3,809 words

  5. In the current version, the article contains 67 Sections and 29,557 words.

  6. It contains language defining more clearly how the House and Senate operate internally and how bills become laws.

  7. Many provisions are very similar to those in the U.S. Constitution. But many are not.

  8. The article has been heavily amended since it was originally ratified.

  9. Some highlights

  10. Section 1 contains the vesting clause

  11. Section 2 establishes the size of each chamber – the U.S. Constitution has no such language.

  12. Sections 3 and 4 establish the term lengths for each chamber.

  13. Section 5 establishes that the legislature meets every two years, and establishes rules for the consideration of bills. None can be considered for the first 30 days, but it states that the Governor can declare certain bills “emergency matters” meaning that they can.

  14. Sections 6 and 7 states the qualifications for Senators and Representatives.

  15. Sections 8 states that each chamber can judge the qualifications of their members.

  16. Section 9 establishes the position of Speaker and defines the powers of the Lieutenant Governor.

  17. Section 10 states that a 2/3rds quorum is necessary to conduct business.

  18. Section 11 allows each chamber to punish and expel members.

  19. Section 12 mandates that each chamber keep a journal of its proceedings.

  20. Section 13 mandates that the Governor issue writs of elections if vacancies occur in either chamber.

  21. Section 14 privileges members from arrest during the session.

  22. Section 15 allows each chamber to punish members for disorderly conduct.

  23. Section 16 mandates that sessions be open to the public.

  24. Section 17 concerns adjournments.

  25. Sections 18 and 19 prevents members from holding other government offices, and vice versa.

  26. Section 20 places limits on tax collectors holding office.

  27. Section 21 states that debates on the floor cannot be questioned in any other place.

  28. Section 22 prevents members who have a stake in an issue from voting on it.

  29. Section 23 reinforces the residency requirement.

  30. Section 24 establishes the salary of members, allows them to receive a per diem rates when in session and mandates that sessions be 140 days long.

  31. Section 24a establishes the Texas Ethics Commission.TEC: Texas TribuneTEC: Wikipedia

  32. Section 25 concerns senatorial districts

  33. Section 26 modifies how house districts are apportioned across the state.

  34. Section 27 states that elections for each chamber shall be the same throughout the state.

  35. Section 28 clarifies the apportionment process and establishes the Legislative Redistricting Board. LRB: Texas Tribune

  36. Section 29 states that all laws begin with the phrase: "Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas.“This section begins a series that cover the details of the bill making process in the state.

  37. Full information about bills passed in the state can be found in the Legislative Reference Library’s section on Bill Statistics.

  38. The only bill that the legislature has to pass is the budget.

  39. Section 30 states that laws must be passed in the form of bills.

  40. Section 31 allows bills to originate in either chamber.

  41. Section 32 states that bills have to be read on three several days in each chamber.

  42. Section 33 mandates that revenue bills begin in the House.

  43. Section 34 bills once defeated, cannot be reintroduced that session.

  44. Section 35 bills can only contain one subject.

  45. Section 36 concerns the revision of laws.

  46. Section 37 states that bills must be reported out of committee at least 3 days before the adjournment of the legislature.

  47. Section 38 mandates that bills passed by each chamber be signed by the presiding officer of each chamber.

  48. Section 39 states that laws passed by the legislature go into effect 90 days after the end of the session.

  49. Section 40 states that special sessions can only focus on the subject the legislature was called to consider.