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Constitution for Texas
We, the People of Texas, to protect our rights, privileges, and immunities, do ordain and establish this Constitution for Texas.
Article. Bill of Immunities.
Definitions and Usage.
For the purposes of this Constitution, and all laws and official acts pursuant thereto, an immunity is a individual right against the positive action of any official or agent of government, and individual persons have all those immunities which no official of government has a delegated power to disable.
A crime shall be defined as an offense punishable by death, imprisonment, or infliction of corporal pain.
A misdemeanor shall be defined as an offense punishable only by deprivation of property or privileges.
Misdemeanors may tried in courts of criminal jurisdiction, but the same standards for due process apply to both.
A high crime or misdemeanor is one peculiar to public office, such as perjury, which shall be defined as the violation of any oath or affirmation made in writing before at least two independent witnesses, including the oath or affirmation of office.
The powers to prohibit, to regulate, to tax, to promote, or to spend, are each independent of one another and not derivable one from another, and none imply the power to punish a violation as a crime, unless such power is expressly delegated, but only to punish a violation as a misdemeanor.
A power to regulate is the power to prohibit some modalities of something, but not all, and only those for which there is a prevaling public need.
A tax may be levied only for the purpose of raising revenue, and not for regulatory purposes, or to favor one interest over another, nor may a regulation be imposed for purposes of raising revenue.
In all terms which use the masculine gender, the feminine is included.
Section . Militia.
Militia shall be defined as any activity conducted in defense of society, its members, or the Constitution, or any one or more natural persons engaged in such activity.
(a) The Militia of Texas shall be organized, trained, and equipped to defend against foreign invasion, insurrection, crime, disaster, or any other threats to public safety.
(b) The mandatory militia is that part of the Militia subject to penalties, defined by law, for failure to respond to a call-up by any credible person aware of an imminent threat to public safety, but may exclude persons whose official or civic duties take precedence over their militia duties, who are unfit for duty, foreign visitors, or those whose rights needed to perform their militia duties have been disabled by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(c) All individual persons have the immunity to keep and bear arms for any lawful purpose, with the following exceptions:
(1) Persons engaged in actual militia under the lawful supervision of a government official may be subject to the direction of that official as to whether or which arms may be borne or used, and how they are to be used.
(2) The possession or use of weapons of mass destruction, defined as weapons which are likely to kill 100 or more persons within arms length of one another upon a single discharge, may be regulated or prohibited to individuals.
(d) No authority is needed for a militia call-up other than awareness of a threat to public safety or the need to prepare for or respond to such, and if designated officials are derelict in maintaining the militia in a high state of organization, training, and equipment, it shall be the duty of citizens to do so on their own initiative, independently of official sanction.
Section . Separation and Delegation of Powwers.
The powers of the government of the State of Texas are divided among three distinct departments: legislative, executive, and judicial. Except as otherwise expressly authorized by this constitution, members of one department may not exercise any power properly attached to either of the others.
No legislative or judicial authority may be delegated, except the legislative authority of the People in Referendum may be delegated to the Legislature; and no executive authority may be delegated to any person not accountable to the people of Texas under the Constitution for Texas and acts of the Legislature or of the People in Referendum pursuant thereto, either by being elected by them, or duly appointed and supervised by an elected official or appointee, or duly selected at random from among a pool of lawfully qualified persons.
(a) If any person claiming legal authority for any act should fail, upon demand, to provide proof of such authority, before completing the act, such failure shall be conclusive that no such authority exists, or if it existed, that it has ceased to exist.
(b) For any official act of a government agent, proof of authority must consist of an unbroken logical chain of authority leading back to the applicable constitutional provisions, including copies of statutes lawfully enacted. Legal codes and court opinions shall not be considered the law, but only evidence of the law. Official acts, including legislative acts, shall not be presumed to be constitutional or lawful, but must be proven to be so.
(c) Regulations issued by any department of the Executive Branch or independent agency shall apply only to agents of that department, or to users of public assets to which access and use is controlled, and not to civilians or personnel of other departments. Only statutes or ordinances may be applied to civilians or personnel of other departments.
(d) No right, privilege, immunity, or service available to citizens of Texas shall be denied or restricted by any agent or employee of the State, or any political subdivision thereof, contingent upon any act of an official or agent of another state, territory, or nation, or of the national government, other than those authorized by the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution for the United States, or certification of naturalization, including any form of identification or identifying numbers or other information or documentation.
Section . Petition.
The people have the right to instruct their representatives, petition government for redress of grievances, and peaceably assemble, without penalty therefor.
(a) No person shall be denied the right to prosecute any petition in any court on its merits, and in particular, on the basis of prior petitions or his performance in pursuing such.
(b) No person shall be denied the right to prosecute a claim against any official or office of government on the basis of any practice or doctrine, such as "sovereign immunity". Only the people are sovereign and immune, when met in convention, referendum, or election, and not public officials, agents, or assets.
(c) Any person shall have standing in any court, either in a separate action or in part of another proceeding, for declaratory or injunctive relief, or both, or a writ of quo warranto, from any statute, regulation, administrative order, repeal, or other official act, on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, unlawful, or inapplicable, without having to first become a defendant under such act, and without a presumption that such act is lawful or applicable.
(d) For any petition for possession or custody, for declaratory or injunctive relief, for disablement for incompetency, or for compensatory, damage, or punitive relief involving value equal or greater than 866.67 troy ounces of standard silver, the petitioner shall have the right to have a decision by a randomly-selected jury of twelve, upon the following votes:
(1) For possession of property or custody of a minor, at least six members, with the president of the court casting a vote if there is a tie.
(2) For declaratory or injunctive relief, at least eight members.
(3) For compensatory or damage relief, at least ten members.
(4) For disablement for incompetency or punitive relief, all twelve members.
Section . Disablements.
A bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts may not be adopted.
(a) Any legislative or executive act which has the effect of disabling the rights, privileges, or immunities of any person or persons, other than by prescribing general constraints on court decisions, the sentence to be imposed on persons convicted of a crime, or defining the disabilities of minority, is to be considered a bill of attainder and is prohibited by this section.
(b) Any disablement of a right, privilege, or immunity of a person convicted of a crime or a party to a civil action, which is not made explicit in that person's sentence or the final order of the court, is null and void.
(c) Due process rights may not be disabled or permanently waived.
(d) The only disabilities of rights which may be imposed by legislation are the disabilities of minority, which shall terminate at age 18, unless earlier terminated or reduced, or unless extended beyond that age, or further restricted, by a county or higher court, but for such extension the subject shall have the right to a unanimous verdict of a randomly-selected jury of twelve.
Section . Warrants.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, private communications, and effects against unreasonable seizures and searches may not be violated; and a warrant may not issue except on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons and things to be seized.
(a) A warrant being served shall cite the criminal or competency statute which authorizes it, and bear an original signature of a judge or magistrate of competent jurisdiction, and such warrant shall be presented to any persons present for their examination before the search may proceed or seizure may remove the persons or things from the premises, excepting only cases in which there is a clear and imminent danger to the life of an innocent person.
(b) All persons participating in the execution of a warrant must be identified and listed in writing in the warrant, or in an appendix thereto signed by the principal person authorized to execute the warrant, and they must carry appropriate identification, including badges, photo identification cards, or other visible insignia that can enable any witness with normal eyesight to identify any of them at a distance of twenty meters. However, this does not exclude the participation of witnesses not themselves executing the warrant.
(c) There shall be a publicly published toll-free telephone number which any person may call at any time, day or night, and present an access code provided by the person executing the warrant, to verify the warrant and the identities of the persons authorized to execute it. Any person present must be permitted to call such telephone number to conduct such verification before the premises can be searched or the persons or things removed, unless no telephone service is available nearby, and such telephone service shall not be interrupted or disabled by any public official or agent.
(d) Any person involved in executing a warrant must take all reasonable precautions to avoid injury to any person, destruction of evidence, and damage to property, and shall be held personally liable for any unnecessary injury, destruction, or damage that may occur, both civilly and criminally, for failure to exercise such precautions.
(e) Any person acting as an agent for a bail bondsman who attempts to detain a fugitive must carry a warrant for the arrest of that person and comply with all of the above provisions.
(f) No person shall be civilly or criminally prosecuted for resisting arrest, including the use of deadly force, or for any injury or property damage caused by such resistance, against any person executing a warrant who does not comply with the above provisions.
Section . Asset Forfeiture.
Cruel or unusual punishment may not be inflicted or excessive fines imposed.
(a) Assets may not be forfeited but for payment of a specific fine, nor may assets be forfeited which have not been proven to belong exclusively to the person convicted of the crime, nor in excess of what may be reasonably expected to bring the amount of the fine in a public sale, at which any claimant or his representative shall have the right to bid, and all proceeds in excess of the fine from such sale shall be refunded to the owner.
(b) Proceedings in rem may not be conducted. Only persons competent to initiate or answer a legal action, either directly or through a representative, may be parties to that action. Any actions involving property with no apparent owner must be made against "Unknown Owner", after a good faith effort to identify an owner has been made, by public notice, for a period of one year, and any such proceeding not satisfying this requirement shall be reversed and the assets or compensation in the value of the assets refunded to the apparent owner.
(c) Any assets seized and not forfeited shall be returned undamaged to the apparent owner if such owner is not tried or convicted of a crime for which a fine is part of the sentence, and the owner shall be compensated for any loss or damage that may occur. Such compensation shall be paid out of the budget of the law enforcement agency which conducted the seizure, and the burden of proof shall rest on the government that any claim for compensation is without merit.
(d) All fines in excess of reasonable court costs shall go to the general fund and not to any agency involved in the seizure or arrest, nor may any such agency or agents thereof accept any share of the proceeds of a forfeiture or reward from any other agency of any jurisdiction.
Section . Grand Juries.
One or more grand juries shall be drawn and summoned at least once a year, for each judicial district, or as required, in subdivisions thereof, selected at random, respectively, from among the residents of the state, district, or subdivision of thereof, who are citizens of Texas and who meet minimum educational requirements as established by law and evidence by performance on objective examinations, under which standards at least 33 percent of those qualified to vote in the next election shall qualify for grand jury service.
(a) Each grand jury shall initially consist of twenty-three (23) persons, who shall make all decisions by a vote of twelve of the grand jurors present, with a quorum of 19.
(b) The grand jury shall have sole authority to adopt their own rules of procedure, to select petitions to be considered, to include or exclude any person other than its members from any proceeding, to subpoena witnesses, to decide whether or not to disclose any part of its proceedings at any time, to decide where and when to meet, and to decide when to adjourn.
(c) The grand jury shall receive all petitions from any person directly, although court staff may sort and categorize petitions, and upon approval of the court, petitions may be appended with comments.
(d) The filing fee for petitions to the grand jury shall not exceed the value equivalent to 17.33 troy ounces of standard silver, and the fee may be waived in forma pauperis.
(e) Criminal prosecution by private parties other than public prosecutors shall not be impeded, other than by consolidating several such actions against the same accused for the same offense into a single action, and by the requirement of indictment by a grand jury.
(1) In the event that two or more parties seek to try the same accused on the same offenses, or petition for overlapping disabilities of the same defendant, or petition in different jurisdictions, either of Texas or a State, the choice of which, if any, is to prosecute, and in what jurisdiction, shall be made by the grand jury having the most local jurisdiction that encompasses all contending jurisdictions, by returning an indictment for the petition selected, if any, and returning no bill for the other petitions, but if such prosecutor shall be private, he shall be compensated from public funds on the same basis as a public prosecutor for services and expenses.
(2) In the event that the accused shall be a public official or agent, the prosecutor may, upon demand, have the judge in the case selected at random, by the indicting grand jury, from among persons who have represented parties at trial in at least four cases in the same jurisdiction during the previous two years, which person shall be compensated at the same rate on the same terms as a regular judge, for the duration of the days of trial.
(3) Any criminal indictment must expressly find the following:
(1) That the charge is authorized by an unbroken chain of logic from a statute authorized by the Constitution.
(2) That the charge is applicable to the alleged offense.
(3) That the court has lawful and constitutional jurisdiction, both subjectam and either personam or locum.
(4) That there is sufficient evidence for a trial to proceed.
(5) That there is no apparent evidence of judicial, prosecutorial, or police misconduct.
(6) That the petitioner is authorized to prosecute the case.
(f) All of the branches, departments, and offices of government, shall be reviewed by a grand jury or members thereof not less than twice a year, at random times, on-site and in real time, and as often as complaints may require.
(1) Grand juries may divide into teams or individual members for such reviews and investigations, who shall report back to the grand jury as a whole.
(2) The members of such grand juries shall have unlimited access to all operations of government, other than jury deliberations, to which they are assigned by the grand jury as a whole, and may carry and use such recording or other investigative tools as the grand jury may direct, or bring such experts as they may deem useful for interpreting what they are reviewing.
(3) The review of judicial processes, including sessions between judges and lawyers, court administration other than jury selection, and criminal and penal procedures, shall occur not less than once every two months.
(4) The grand jury or such designated members thereof shall review all jury selection processes on site and in real time, excepting only the selection of the first grand jury after an interruption of such review, to insure that no jury stacking occurs.
(5) Grand jurors shall have the power to interview any person in private during such reviews who they may suspect may have a complaint or evidence of misconduct in any department of government, and no such person may be questioned thereafter about the content of such an interview.
(g) A petition of 1000, or ten percent, whichever is less, of the residents of the state, county, district, or subdivision thereof, shall be sufficient to call a special grand jury to consider any subject prescribed by the petition, and to have any indictments brought by such grand jury prosecuted by a person or persons named by the petition.
(h) Additional grand juries shall be convened as required so that they may have at least four hours to consider each case presented to them on its merits.
Felonies or offenses punishable by incarceration for more than three months or a fine equal or greater in value to 866.67 troy ounces of standard silver shall be prosecuted as provided by law only upon indictment by a grand jury.
Section . Trial Procedure and Juries.
No judgment shall be set aside, or new trial granted, in any cause, on the ground of misdirection of the jury, or of the improper admission or rejection of evidence, or for any error as to any matter of pleading, or for any error as to any matter of procedure, unless, after an examination of the entire cause, including the evidence, the court shall find that:
(a) The error complained of has resulted in a miscarriage of justice; or
(b) In a jury trial, one or more of the following situations has occurred:
(1) The prospective jurors in voir dire have been required to answer more than 25 questions about anything other than name, citizenship, residence within the political subdivision or judicial district, knowledge of the language in which the trial shall be conducted, whether their disabilities of minority are removed, disablements of rights by a court of competent jurisdiction, personal knowledge of or affiliation with the persons, organizations, or events in the case, or factors that might impose an undue hardship on themselves or their dependents or that may affect their ability to render an impartial verdict.
(2) The jury has been required to take an oath or affirmation to do anything but "uphold the Constitution and laws of Texas and of the United States".
(3) The jury has not been informed of its power and duty to judge both the law and the facts in the case.
(4) The defense has been prevented from informing the jury of its power and duty to judge both the law and the facts in the case, or threatened or penalized in any way for doing so.
(5) The issues of defense evidence and law, including jurisdiction, applicability, and constitutional compliance, other than minor procedural issues, have not been argued in the presence of the jury, and the jury has not been provided with at least one copy of all pleadings in the case, including amicus curiae briefs and proposed jury instructions from all parties, and a copy of the constitutions of Texas and the United States and all applicable laws and precedents.
(6) The jury has not been afforded the opportunity to ask any questions they may have of any person, including any additional witnesses and evidence they may require, excepting only evidence illegally obtained.
(7) The jury has not been afforded the use of any documentation they may request, including the resources of an adequate law library, and competent assistance in their legal research.
(8) Any person has been excluded from the jury on the basis of his or her knowledge of the law, familiarity with legal reform advocacy literature, or involvement in legal reform advocacy activities.
(9) Any juror has been removed from an empaneled jury based on votes made or vote intentions announced, or if any juror has been asked to report votes made or vote intentions announced, by any other juror.
(c) In a criminal or competency case, or any case in which the State or any governmental body petitions to disable the rights, privileges, or immunities of the defendant, one or more of the following situations has occurred:
(1) The prosecution has failed to prove that the court has jurisdiction, that the charges are authorized by statute and applicable to the case, that the offender was physically within the territorial jurisdiction of the state, political subdivision, and district at the moment the offense occurred, and that the statutes are authorized by the Constitution for Texas and not in conflict with the Constitution for the United States.
(2) The accused has not had adequate counsel or representation of his own choice, not limited to legal professionals.
(3) The accused or any witness against him has been induced to make any plea or testimony based on any reward or penalty, or threats of prosecution of, or offers of lenity to, himself or others.
(4) A complete and accurate permanent public record has not been made, or that the defendant or his representatives have been prevented from making, of all proceedings in the case, beginning with arraignment, including interrogations, negotiations, and discussions among the accused, his accusers, attorneys, and judges in the case, excepting only private communications between attorney and client.
(5) The accused has been previously tried on the same offense in a jury trial in which a mistrial was declared because the jury could not agree.
(6) The accused has been charged with an offense of violating a disablement of a right not explicitly disabled in a sentencing order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or had a penalty imposed which exceeds such explicit disablement.
(7) The rights of the accused have been violated.
(8) A general verdict, that is, a verdict of "guilt proven" or "guilt not proven", was not rendered by a unanimous vote of a jury of twelve, selected at random from among residents of the jurisdiction who are citizens of Texas or its territories, with no more than fifty percent excluded in voir dire.
(9) The accused, upon conviction, has not had the opportunity to argue for a less restrictive disablement of his rights, privileges, or immunities in a sentencing hearing, in which the prosecution shall have the burden of proving the lawfulness and justice of a more restrictive disablement.
(10) The rights or immunities, and privileges, of the accused have been recognized less inclusively or more restrictively than those recognized by the Constitution for the United States and amendments thereto, substituting "State" for "United States", "Legislature" for "Congress", or "Governor" for "President", as appropriate to make such recognitions applicable to the State, as individual rights.
(d) In any case, if the defendant has been denied the right to possession and use of a complete record at no cost to him, or to make or have made audiovisual recordings, of any proceedings, including proceedings outside of court, involving the case, or to make such recordings part of the public record and release it to the public, subject only to the security of witnesses and jurors.
(e) In the appeal of any case, appellant has been denied the right to petition without penalty or disablement, to counsel of his choice, not limited to legal professionals, to appear in propria persona, or to be denied any due process rights recognized for appellants in the courts of Texas.
The final or sentencing, order of the court in a criminal trial, upon a verdict of "guilt proven", must clearly and separately state the following:
(a) That a verdict of "guilt proven" was found by the jury or judge.
(b) That a hearing was held to argue the rights to be disabled.
(c) A bill of those rights disabled, and the precise extent of the disablement of each.
(d) The penalty imposed within the bounds of the disablements made.
(e) An order of execution or warrant to an official or other person to carry out the penalty.
Section. Judicial Trials and Appeals.
In any multi-judge trial or appeal, including jury trials and the Supreme Court, there must be a unaninmous vote of the judges or jurors to affirm a delegated power of government against a claim of an immunity of an individual person, failing which the claimed immunity shall stand.
Section. Restrictions on Government.
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments.
No person shall be disqualified to give evidence in any of the Courts of this State on account of his religious opinions, or for the want of any religious belief.
No man shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of worship. But it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to protect equally every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship.
No money shall be appropriated, or drawn from the Treasury for the benefit of any sect, or religious society, theological or religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the State be appropriated for any such purposes.
Every person shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions on any subject, being only civilly responsible for the abuse of that privilege; and no law shall ever be passed curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press.
In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have a speedy public trial by an impartial jury. He shall have the right to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof. He shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, and shall have the right of being heard by himself or counsel, or both, shall be confronted by the witnesses against him and shall have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, except that when the witness resides out of the State and the offense charged is a violation of any of the anti-trust laws of this State, the defendant and the State shall have the right to produce and have the evidence admitted by deposition, under such rules and laws as the Legislature may hereafter provide; and no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense, unless on an indictment of a grand jury, except in cases in which the punishment is by fine or imprisonment, otherwise than in the penitentiary, in cases of impeachment, and in cases arising in the army or navy, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger.
All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses, when the proof is evident; but this provision shall not be so construed as to prevent bail after indictment found upon examination of the evidence, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.
Any person accused of a felony less than capital in this State, who has been theretofore twice convicted of a felony, the second conviction being subsequent to the first, both in point of time of commission of the offense and conviction therefor may, after a hearing, and upon evidence substantially showing the guilt of the accused, be denied bail pending trial, by any judge of a court of record or magistrate in this State; provided, however, that if the accused is not accorded a trial upon the accusation within sixty (60) days from the time of his incarceration upon such charge, the order denying bail shall be automatically set aside, unless a continuance is obtained upon the motion or request of the accused; provided, further, that the right of appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals of this State is expressly accorded the accused for a review of any judgment or order made hereunder.
All persons shall have the right of oyer and terminer for all petitions for writs of habeas corpus and quo warranto, which shall not be suspended, and if any court fails to respond to such petitions within 96 hours, except in times of emergency in which the courts are closed, the writs shall be presumed granted.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted. All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him, in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due process of law.
No person, for the same offense, shall be twice put in jeopardy of life or liberty, nor shall a person be again put upon trial for the same offense, after a verdict of not guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction.
The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate. The Legislature shall pass such laws as may be needed to regulate the same, and to maintain its purity and efficiency. Provided, that the Legislature may provide for the temporary commitment, for observation and/or treatment, of mentally ill persons not charged with a criminal offense, for a period of time not to exceed ninety (90) days, by order of the County Court without the necessity of a trial by jury.
No person shall be committed as a person of unsound mind except on competent medical or psychiatric testimony. The Legislature may enact all laws necessary to provide for the trial, adjudication of insanity and commitment of persons of unsound mind and to provide for a method of appeal from judgments rendered in such cases. Such laws may provide for a waiver of trial by jury, in cases where the person under inquiry has not been charged with the commission of a criminal offense, by the concurrence of the person under inquiry, or his next of kin, and an attorney ad litem appointed by a judge of either the County or Probate Court of the county where the trial is being held, and shall provide for a method of service of notice of such trial upon the person under inquiry and of his right to demand a trial by jury.
No person's property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person; and, when taken, except for the use of the State, such compensation shall be first made, or secured by a deposit of money; and no irrevocable or uncontrollable grant of special privileges or immunities, shall be made; but all privileges and franchises granted by the Legislature, or created under its authority shall be subject to the control thereof.
No person shall ever be imprisoned for debt.
No citizen of this State shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, privileges or immunities, or in any manner disfranchised, except by the due process of law.
No citizen shall be outlawed, nor shall any person be transported out of the State for any offense committed within the same.
No conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate, and the estates of those who destroy their own lives shall descend or vest as in case of natural death.
Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort; and no person shall be convicted of treason except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in the house of any citizen without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law.
Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed, nor shall the law of primogeniture or entailments ever be in force in this State.
The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good; and apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.
No power of suspending laws in this State shall be exercised except by the Legislature.
Everything in this "Bill of Immunities" is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate, and all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.
Section. Legal Tender.
Only gold and silver, denominated in mass units, may be established as legal tender for the payment of debts within the territorial boundaries of the State.
For the purposes of this constitution and all laws made putsuant thereto, a "dollar" shall consist of 371.25 grains of pure silver.
Section. Occupational Regulation.
No law may require the licensing of any profession or occupation, or membership in any organization, and in particular, no person shall be required to be licensed or a member of any organization to be permitted to practice law in the State.
(a) The Legislature shall have power to constitute by law "practice commissions" for each profession or occupation, consisting of not less than five nor more than fifteen members, at least a majority of whom shall not be active members of the profession or occupation, appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate, with vacancies to be filled by appointment by the Governor until the next session of the Legislature.
(b) A practice commission shall have power to investigate and appoint a prosecutor to prosecute, at public expense, a practitioner who has committed an offense or act of abuse, usurpation, negligence, incompetence, or violation of the regulations of the practice established by law, and disable the right of such practitioner to practice that profession for compensation.
(c) The Legislature shall have power to establish and maintain a central public registry of all such disablements which may be accessed by any person at no cost.
Article. Territory and Political Subdivisions.
The territorial boundaries of Texas shall be those established by the admission of Texas into the United States, and by boundary treaties with the nation of Mexico.
The territory of Texas which may be ceded by act of the Legislature to the exclusive legislative juristiction of the United States shall consist only of the following:
(a) Airspace at or above 300 meters clear of all natural terrain features, for the purpose of regulation of flight operations.
(b) Electromagnetic spectrum for broadcast communications that may extend beyond the borders of Texas.
(c) Parcels of land, not to exceed 1 percent of the total land area of Texas, defined by metes and bounds, purchased by the United States by prior consent of the Legislature, and properly marked by boundary signs and other marks which clearly notify anyone crossing the boundaries which jurisdiction the person is in, but residents of such ceded parcels shall remain citizens of Texas and of the counties, districts and other political subdivisions thereof for purposes of voting.
Section. Local Government.
All levels, departments, and functions of government, state and local, are bound by and include the constitutions of Texas and of the United States.
Each county shall have its own constitution of government, but the Legislature may enact default county constitutions to be in effect until each county can adopt its own, and may prescribe standards for such county county constitutions.
The functions of government in county constitutions shall be divided into legislative, executive, and judicial, the top officials of all of which shall be elected, but in counties of less than 3000 persons, legislation may be enacted by county meetings of any or all persons qualified to vote according to state standards.
Article. Citizenship and Ballot Access.
Any individual person shall be considered a citizen of the State if he is a citizen of the United States or its territories and either:
(a) He has declared himself a citizen of Texas, and renounced his citizenship in other states or territories; or
(b) He has resided continuously withint the territorial boundaries of the State, unless
(c) He declares he is a citizen of another state or territory.
Any party shall have the right to have its candidates appear on the ballot of the next election, for a state, district, or county office, if;
(a) It has received at least 1 percent of the votes in any election for either a state, district or county office in the previous ten years; or
(b) It has filed a petition of individual persons qualified to vote in the next election equal or greater than .1 percent of the number that voted in the previous election.
Article. Initiative, Recall and Referendum.
Upon petition of 20 percent of the members of either House of the Legislature, for statewide offices, or .2 percent of those qualified to vote in the next election, within the state or other political subdivision of the office, a proposition or recall of an elected official may be placed on the ballot of that next election.
A statute adopted by referendum may be amended or repealed only by either another referendum statute, or by a statute of the Legislatute which is adopted by a vote of both houses of the Legislature equal to or greater than 6 percent more than the vote by which it was adopted in referendum.
Upon determination by the Secretary of State that more than one proposition covers the same subject, he may divide the propositions into separate propositions on the ballot, on which voters shall first indicate which, if any, of the propositions are acceptible, and then indicate which of the propositions that they would accept is preferred. That proposition will be considered ratified if it is acceptible to a majority of the voters and is preferred by a plurality of that majority.
The Legislature shall consist of two houses, a Senate and an Assembly.
A member of the Senate shall be elected from each of 31 districts, drawn by a mathematical procedure previously adopted as a statute, as follows:
(a) Each district shall contain an equal number of persons qualified to vote, within the margin of error of the last census count.
(b) District boundaries shall follow the boundaries of previously established precinct boundaries, and shall not not exceed in length the minimal possible length by more than 10 percent, and then only as needed to encompass, to the extent possible, existing political subdivisions.
(c) The procedure shall take no account of any demographic attributes or voting histories.
Members of the Assembly shall be elected from the same districts as members of the Senate, as follows:
(a) Any candidate who receives at least 20 percent of the votes from that district shall be considered a member, and in all legislative proceedings shall cast a number of votes equal to the number of votes he received in the election.
(b) All allocations of resources and debate time to members shall be in proportion to the number of votes each received.
(c) Each member may designate a chain of successors to replace him if he resigns or is unable to serve for any reason, but such chain of succession must be publicly disclosed at least 30 days before his election.
The qualifications of the members of the Legislature shall be as follows:
(a) To be eligible for election to the senate, a person must be a qualified voter and immediately preceding election have been a resident of this state for five years and of the senatorial district for one year. To be eligible to serve in the senate, a person must be at least 26 years old.
(b) To be eligible for election to the house, a person must be a qualified voter and immediately preceding election have been a resident of this state for two years and of the representative district for one year. To be eligible to serve in the house, a person must be at least 21 years old.
(c) The office of a member of the legislature becomes vacant if the member changes residence from the district from which elected.
(d) A person holding a lucrative office under this state, the United States, or a foreign government is not eligible for election to the legislature during the term of that office.
(e) A person holding or exercising the powers of an office of profit or trust under the United States, or any one of them, or a foreign government is not eligible to serve in the legislature.
Section. Election and Terms.
The election and terms of members of the Legislature shall be as follows:
(a) Senators and representatives are elected by the qualified voters of their respective districts at a statewide general election.
(b) Each senator serves a term of four years beginning on the date prescribed by law for convening the legislature in regular session following election. The qualified voters elect a new senate after each statewide senatorial redistricting. The senators shall decide by lot which serve four-year terms and which serve two-year terms, so that one-half will be elected every two years thereafter.
(c) Each representative serves a term of two years beginning on the date prescribed by law for convening the legislature in regular session following election.
(d) Vacancies in the senate and house of representatives are filled by special election. When a vacancy occurs, the governor shall issue a writ of election to fill the vacancy. If the governor does not issue the writ within 20 days after the vacancy occurs, the returning officer of the district in which the vacancy exists shall order the election.
Electoral districts shall be established as follows:
(a) At its first regular session following each federal decennial census, the legislature shall divide the state into electoral districts.
(b) Each electoral district must be composed of contiguous territory.
(c) If the legislature fails to redistrict the state as required by Subsection (a) of this section, a legislative redistricting board consisting of the lieutenant governor, speaker of the house of representatives, attorney general, comptroller of public accounts, and the commissioner of the general land office convenes. Three members of the board constitute a quorum. The board shall convene in Austin within 90 days after adjournment of the regular session at which the legislature fails to redistrict the state. The board shall complete the necessary redistricting within 60 days after convening. The redistricting plan must be in writing, signed by at least three members of the board and filed with the secretary of state. The plan has the force and effect of law and takes effect at the next statewide general election. The Supreme Court of Texas has jurisdiction by extraordinary writ to compel the board to comply with this subsection. The legislature shall provide funds for the board's clerical, technical, and other expenses. While serving on the board, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house of representatives receive the per diem and travel allowances that they would receive for attending a special session of the legislature.
Section. Compensation of the Legislature.
Members of the Legislature shall be compensated at a daily rate equal to the prorated average of compensation paid to all employees of the State, up to a maximum of 140 days for each two-year session, plus mileage at the rate prescribed by law for employees of the State of Texas.
(a) The legislature shall convene in regular session each odd-numbered year on a date prescribed by law. A regular session may not exceed 140 days.
(b) Special sessions may be called only by the governor and may not exceed 30 days. The legislature in special session may legislate only on subjects submitted by the governor.
(c) Sessions of each house of the legislature, except executive sessions of the senate, must be open to the public.
(d) Neither house, without the consent of the other, may adjourn or recess for more than three days or to any other place than where the legislature is in session.
(e) The legislature shall hold its sessions in the City of Austin, which is the seat of government.
Section. Organization and Procedure.
(a) Each house is the judge of the qualifications and election of its own members, but contested elections are to be determined as provided by law.
(b) Each house determines the rules of its own proceedings. Except for the election of house or senate officers, elections must be by recorded vote.
(c) At the beginning and end of each session and at such other times as may be necessary, the senate shall elect from among its members a president pro tempore who shall perform the duties of the office of lieutenant governor when the lieutenant governor is absent or disabled or when the office is vacant.
(d) At the beginning of each regular session, the house of representatives shall organize temporarily and elect a speaker from among its members.
(e) Two-thirds of the membership of each house constitutes a quorum for transacting business, but fewer members may recess or adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide.
(f) Each house shall prepare and publish a journal of its proceedings. At the request of any three members present, the votes on any question must be recorded in the journal.
(g) Each house may punish a member for disorderly conduct and may expel a member by an affirmative two-thirds vote, but may not expel a member a second time for the same offense.
(h) During a session, each house may imprison a nonmember for not more than 48 hours for disrespectful or disorderly conduct in its presence or for obstruction of its proceedings.
Section. Legislative Immunity.
(a) A member of the legislature may not be questioned in any other place for speech or debate occurring in either house.
(b) Except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace, a member of the legislature is privileged from arrest during a session of the legislature and while traveling to and from a session.
Section. Conflict of Interest.
(a) A member of the legislature may not vote for the appointment of another member to any office filled by the legislature except as otherwise provided in this constitution.
(b) During the term for which elected, a member of the legislature is not eligible to hold (1) a civil office of profit under this state if the office is created or its emoluments increased during the term, or (2) an office or position the appointment to which is made or confirmed by either house. For purposes of this subsection a member's term expires on December 31 of the last full calendar year of the term.
(c) A member of the legislature may not hold another office or position of profit under this state or the United States except that of notary public.
(d) A member of the legislature privately interested in a bill, resolution, or other matter before the legislature shall disclose that interest and may not vote on the bill, resolution, or other matter.
(e) A member of the legislature may not have a direct or indirect interest in a contract with a county or the state if the contract is authorized by a law enacted during the term for which the member was elected.
Section. Bills and Resolutions.
(a) A law may be enacted only by bill. Each law must contain the following enacting clause: "Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas."
(b) A bill other than a revenue bill may originate in either house; a revenue bill must originate in the Assembly. After a bill passes one house, the other may amend or reject it; but neither house may so amend a bill as to change its original purpose.
(c) A bill must be limited to a single subject. The subject must be expressed in the title of the bill. If a bill that becomes law embraces a subject that is not expressed in the title, only the portion of the law concerning the subject not expressed in the title is void. A general appropriations bill must be limited to the subject of appropriations. A statutory revision bill must be limited to that subject.
(d) A bill, amendatory in form, must set out the complete section or sections, as amended, of the statute it amends. A bill reviving an act must set out the complete text of the act revived.
(e) Before a bill may be considered, it must have been referred to a committee and reported at least three days before adjournment sine die.
(f) Before a bill becomes law, it must be read in each house on three separate days with free debate allowed. A house by a record affirmative four-fifths vote of the members present may suspend this requirement in case of imperative public necessity, which necessity must be stated in the bill.
(g) If a bill or resolution is considered and defeated in either house, no bill or resolution containing the same substance may be passed during the same session.
(h) The presiding officer of each house shall sign in its presence each bill and joint resolution passed by the legislature after the title of the bill or joint resolution is publicly read. The fact of signing must be recorded in the journal.
(i) No law except the general appropriations act may take effect earlier than 90 days after adjournment of the session at which it was enacted. The legislature by a record affirmative two-thirds vote of the membership of each house may authorize an earlier effective date in case of imperative public necessity, which necessity must be stated in the law.
(j) The legislature shall provide for periodic revising, digesting, and publication of the civil and criminal laws. These digests and revisions are not subject to Subsection (d) of this section.
Section. Action on Bills and Resolutions.
(a) Each bill that passes both houses of the legislature must be presented to the governor. The governor may approve the bill by signing it or may veto the bill by returning it with objections to the house in which it originated. That house shall enter the objections in its journal and reconsider the bill for passage over the veto. If the bill passes that house on reconsideration by a record affirmative two-thirds vote of the members present, it must be sent with the governor's objections to the other house, which shall enter the objections in its journal and reconsider the bill for passage over the veto. If the bill passes that house on reconsideration by a record affirmative two-thirds vote of the members of that house, the bill becomes law. If the governor fails to veto a bill within 10 days (Sundays excepted) after it is presented, the bill becomes law. If the legislature by its adjournment prevents a veto, a bill becomes law unless within 20 days after adjournment the governor files the bill and objections with the secretary of state and by proclamation gives public notice of the filing.
(b) The governor within 10 days (Sundays excepted) after presentation of a bill that contains several items of appropriation may veto one or more items of appropriation in the bill. Portions of the bill not vetoed become law. A statement of the items vetoed must be attached to the bill when the governor signs it. If the legislature is in session, a copy of the statement must be transmitted to the house in which the bill originated. Each vetoed item must be reconsidered separately and may become law in the same manner as a vetoed bill. If the legislature by its adjournment prevents an item veto, the items become law unless within 20 days after adjournment the governor files the bill and objections to any items with the secretary of state and by proclamation gives public notice of the filing.
(c) The veto procedure required by Subsection (a) of this section applies equally to any other action of the legislature requiring the concurrence of both houses except the question of adjournment.
Section. Local or Special Laws.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, the legislature may not enact a local or special law:
(1) authorizing the creation, extension, or impairment of liens;
(2) regulating the affairs of counties, cities, towns, wards, or school districts;
(3) changing the names of persons or places;
(4) changing the venue in civil or criminal cases;
(5) authorizing the laying out, opening, altering, or maintaining of roads, highways, streets, or alleys;
(6) relating to ferries or bridges, or incorporating ferry or bridge companies, except for the erection of bridges spanning streams that form the boundaries of this state;
(7) vacating roads, town plats, streets, or alleys;
(8) relating to cemeteries, graveyards, or public grounds not of the state;
(9) authorizing the adoption or legitimation of children;
(10) locating or changing county seats;
(11) incorporating cities, towns, or villages or changing their charters;
(12) providing for the opening and conducting of elections or fixing or changing voting places;
(13) granting divorces;
(14) creating offices or prescribing the powers and duties of officers in counties, cities, towns, election districts, or school districts;
(15) changing the law of descent or succession;
(16) regulating the practice or jurisdiction of, or changing the rules of evidence in a judicial proceeding or inquiry before, courts, justices of the peace, sheriffs, commissioners, arbitrators, or other tribunals;
(17) providing or changing methods for the collection of debts or the enforcement of judgments; or prescribing the effect of judicial sales of real estate;
(18) regulating the fees or extending the powers or duties of aldermen, justices of the peace, magistrates, or constables;
(19) regulating the management of public schools, the construction or repair of school houses, or money-raising for those purposes;
(20) fixing the rate of interest;
(21) affecting the estates of minors or persons under disability;
(22) remitting fines, penalties, or forfeitures or refunding money legally paid into the treasury;
(23) exempting property from taxation;
(24) regulating labor, trade, mining, or manufacturing;
(25) declaring any named person of age;
(26) extending the time for the assessment or collection of taxes or otherwise relieving an assessor or collector of taxes from the due performance of official duties or the securities of the assessor or collector from liability;
(27) giving effect to an informal or invalid will or deed;
(28) summoning or empanelling a grand or petit jury;
(29) providing for limitation of a civil or criminal action;
(30) incorporating a railroad or other work of internal improvement; or
(31) in any other case in which a general law is or can be made applicable.
(b) No bill proposing a local or special law may be passed unless notice of the substance of the bill and the intention to introduce it have been published in the affected locality in the manner prescribed by law and at least 30 days prior to introduction. Evidence that the notice was published must be exhibited in the legislature before the bill is passed.
Section. Impeachment and Removal.
(a) The Assembly has the sole power of impeachment.
(b) An officer against whom articles of impeachment have been preferred is suspended from the exercise of the duties of the office while impeachment is pending. If the governor is suspended, the lieutenant governor acts as governor. If the lieutenant governor is suspended, the president pro tempore of the senate acts as lieutenant governor. In other cases the governor may make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy during suspension.
(c) Impeachment of an elected officer of the executive department or of a justice or judge of the supreme court, court of criminal appeals, a court of civil appeals, or a district court is tried by the senate. Senators shall take an oath or affirmation to try impartially the person impeached. An affirmative two-thirds vote of the members present is required to convict a person of impeachment charges.
(d) A judgment of conviction following impeachment may not extend beyond removal from office and disqualification from holding an office of honor, profit, or trust under this state. A judgment of conviction following impeachment does not bar criminal prosecution for the conduct for which convicted.
Section. Consent for Appointments.
An affirmative two-thirds vote of the members present constitutes consent to an appointment that the constitution requires to be with the advice and consent of the senate.
Article. Executive Department.
Officers of the executive department are the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, treasurer, and secretary of state. The governor is the chief executive officer of the state. Other offices to be elected statewide may be created only by referendum statute.
Each constitutional and statutory state officer elected statewide whose term is not otherwise provided for in this constitution, is elected at a statewide general election for a four-year term, in even years not leap years
The secretary of state is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate and serves during the term of service of the governor.
Section. State Boards.
The legislature by law may prescribe six-year terms for members of state administrative boards established by law, provided that the terms of one-third of a board's members expire every two years. Vacancies on these boards are filled as provided by law.
Section. Returns of Election.
(a) Unless otherwise provided by law, the returns for elected officers specified in Section 1 of this article are to be sealed and sent to the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall deliver these returns to the speaker of the house of representatives. The legislature shall meet in joint session during the first week of a regular session to canvass these returns. The speaker of the house of representatives shall preside and, with the approval of the legislature, shall certify the election of the candidate who receives the most votes for the office and is qualified under this constitution.
(b) If there is a tie for the most votes for an office specified in Section 1, the legislature shall immediately resolve the tie by a joint vote of both houses.
(c) If an election for an office specified in Section 1 is contested, the legislature shall determine the contest in a joint session of both houses.
Section. Governor Eligibility and Installation.
(a) To be eligible to the office of governor, a person must be a citizen of the United States, at least 30 years old, and have been a resident of the state for at least five years immediately preceding election.
(b) The governor is inaugurated on the first Tuesday after the organization of the legislature or as soon thereafter as practicable.
Section. Gubernatorial Succession.
(a) If at the time of inauguration the governor-elect fails to assume the office, the lieutenant governor-elect shall serve as governor until the governor-elect assumes the office or until the next statewide general election.
(b) If after inauguration the governor is unable to discharge the duties of the office or is absent from the state, the lieutenant governor shall serve as governor until the governor's inability or absence terminates or until another is chosen at the next statewide general election and duly qualified.
(c) If both the governor and lieutenant governor are absent from the state, are unable to discharge the duties of the office of governor, or do not assume the office, the president pro tempore of the senate shall serve as governor until the inability or absence of either the governor or lieutenant governor terminates or until superseded by a governor or lieutenant governor.
(d) If the office of governor is vacant, the lieutenant governor succeeds to the office of governor until another is chosen at the next statewide general election and duly qualified.
(e) If both the offices of governor and lieutenant governor are vacant, the president pro tempore of the senate succeeds to the office of governor until superseded by a governor or lieutenant governor.
(f) The legislature may provide by law for further succession to the office of governor.
Section. Compensation of State Officers.
Statewide elected officials are entitled to an annual salary of twice the average annual rate of all state employees, plus mileage at the established rate for state employees, and to the use of the Governor's Mansion and furnishings. A person who serves as governor or succeeds to the office is entitled to compensation during the period of service only in the amount the governor would have received for the same period. These officers shall deposit all fees, costs, and other perquisites of office in the state treasury.
Section. Dual Office Holding and Employment.
While holding the office of governor, a person may not (1) hold another civil, military, or corporate office; (2) practice a profession for compensation or promise of compensation; or (3) receive compensation or a promise of compensation for the performance or promise of performance of a service.
Section. Military Command.
The governor is commander-in-chief of the military forces of the state except when they are called into actual service of the United States. The governor may call forth the militia to execute the laws of the state, to suppress insurrection, or to repel invasion.
Section. Execution of Laws.
The governor shall cause the laws to be faithfully executed.
Section. Relations with Other States and United States.
The governor shall conduct, in person or in the manner prescribed by law, all intercourse and business of the state with other states or the United States.
Section. Special Legislative Sessions.
The governor, on extraordinary occasions, may call the legislature into special session stating specifically the purpose of the session. The legislature shall convene at the seat of government unless the governor designates a different place because the seat of government is held by the public enemy or disease is prevalent there. The legislature may consider only those matters that the governor specifies in the call or subsequently presents to the legislature.
Section. Governor's Biannual Message.
At the beginning of each legislative session and at the end of the gubernatorial term, the governor shall give the legislature information on the condition of the state and may recommend legislative action. The message of the governor must be accompanied by a statement, with vouchers, of all public money received and expended from funds subject to gubernatorial control. At the beginning of each regular session, the governor shall present to the legislature an estimate of the amount of tax revenue required for all purposes.
Section. Accounts and Reports to Governor.
Each officer of the executive department or officer or manager of a state institution shall submit to the governor under oath a semiannual report of receipts, disbursements, and services performed. The governor at any time may inspect the books or accounts of an office of the executive department or a state institution or require written information under oath on any subject relating to the responsibilities or management of an office. An officer or manager who willfully makes a false report or gives false information is guilty of perjury and is to be punished accordingly and removed from office.
Section. Lieutenant Governor.
The lieutenant governor must be eligible to the office of governor. The lieutenant governor, by virtue of the office, is president of the senate and may cast a deciding vote when the senate is equally divided. The lieutenant governor may debate or vote on all questions when the senate is sitting in committee of the whole.
Section. Attorney General.
(a) The attorney general or his deputy shall represent the state in those civil actions before the Supreme Court of Texas, and in any case in which the state may be a party.
(b) The attorney general shall especially inquire into the charter rights of private corporations and shall take such action in the courts as may be proper and necessary to prevent a private corporation from exercising a power not authorized by law. When sufficient cause exists and unless otherwise expressly directed by law, the attorney general shall seek a judicial forfeiture of a corporate charter.
(c) The attorney general shall inspect all state and local departments of government and report his findings of their compliance with the law.
(d) The attorney general shall give legal advice in writing to the governor and other executive officers, state or local, when requested by them, which opinions shall be presumed authoritative, and perform other duties as may be required by law.
Section. Secretary of State.
(a) The secretary of state shall authenticate the publication of laws. The secretary of state shall maintain a register of the official acts and proceedings of the governor, with all documents or minutes relating to each act or proceeding, and shall transmit them to the legislature or either house of the legislature when requested.
(b) The secretary of state shall appoint for each county an adequate number of notaries public qualified by law to perform the duties of that office as provided by law.
(c) The secretary of state shall perform other duties as provided by law.
The Treasurer shall administer all collections and disbursements of State revenues, and shall perform such other duties as provided by law.
The Comptroller shall audit all collections and disbursements of State revenues, and assets held, and shall perform such other duties as provided by law.
Section. Other Executive Officers.
Other Constitutional and statutory state officers elected statewide shall perform duties as provided by law.
Section. Filling Vacancies.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this constitution and unless otherwise provided by law, the governor shall fill all vacancies in state and district offices by appointment with the advice and consent of the senate. The term of an officer appointed to a vacancy in an elective office ends at the next statewide general election.
(b) If the legislature is not in session when a vacancy occurs, the governor or other appointing authority may make an appointment to fill the office. A nominee for the office must be submitted to the senate for confirmation during the first 10 days of the next session of the legislature. If the nominee is rejected by the senate, the office is vacant.
(c) The governor or other appointing authority shall submit nominees to a vacant office until one is confirmed or the session ends. If no nominee to an office is confirmed during the session, the vacant office may be filled by appointment until the next session of the senate or, in the case of an elective office, until the next statewide general election if that occurs sooner. A rejected nominee may not be appointed to the office.
Section. Seal of State and Commissions.
The seal of the state is a star of five points encircled by olive and live oak branches and the words "The State of Texas." The seal of state is kept by the secretary of state and used by that officer officially under the direction of the governor. All commissions are in the name and by the authority of the State of Texas, sealed with the seal of the state, signed by the governor, and attested by the secretary of state.
Section. Residence of State Officers.
(a) Unless the legislature by law requires or authorizes a different place, the governor shall reside where the legislature is meeting and at other times at the seat of government.
(b) All elected officers listed in Section 1 of this article, except the lieutenant governor, and all statutory state officers elected statewide to four-year terms shall reside at the seat of government during their terms of office.
Article. Judiciary Department.
Section. Judicial Powers.
(a) The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, courts of criminal appeals, courts of civil appeals, district courts, county courts, commissioners courts, justice of the peace courts, and such other courts as may be established by law. The legislature may conform the jurisdiction of district and other inferior courts to the jurisdiction of such other courts.
(b) Power to change venue is vested in the courts, subject to regulation by law.
(c) Courts having original jurisdiction of criminal cases may, after conviction, suspend sentence, place a defendant on probation, or reimpose sentence, as provided by law.
(d) All courts are conservators of the peace throughout the state.
(e) All writs and process shall be styled "The State of Texas." All prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by the authority of the State of Texas and shall conclude "Against the peace and dignity of the State."
Section. Supreme Court.
(a) The supreme court consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices. Five justices constitute a quorum. The court may sit in sections on preliminary matters, but the concurrence of five members is necessary for decision of a case, except that all members available for service must be unanimous to affirm a delegated power of government against a complementary claim of an individual immunity.
(b) The supreme court shall sit at the seat of government. Its term is the calendar year.
(c) The supreme court has statewide jurisdiction.
(d) The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction, subject to limitation and regulation by law, of questions of law arising in cases of which the courts of civil appeals and courts of criminal appeals have appellate jurisdiction, but appellate decisions of courts of civil appeals and courts of criminal appeals on all questions of fact are conclusive.
(e) The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction as provided by law of appeals directly to the supreme court from an order of any trial court granting or denying an interlocutory or permanent injunction on the ground of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of a state statute, or the validity or invalidity of an administrative order issued by a state agency under a state statute.
(f) The supreme court has authority to ascertain such matters of fact as may be necessary to the exercise of its jurisdiction.
(g) The supreme court has original jurisdiction as provided by law to issue writs of quo warranto and mandamus, except against the governor.
(h) The supreme court or any justice thereof may issue writs of habeas corpus as provided by law.
(i) The supreme court or any justice thereof may issue, subject to regulation by law, writs of mandamus, procedendo, certiorari, and such writs as may be necessary to enforce the jurisdiction of the court.
Section. Courts of Criminal Appeals.
(a) The legislature shall divide the state into as many supreme judicial districts as may be necessary and in each district shall establish a court of criminal appeals consisting of a chief justice and four associate justices. Three judges constitute a quorum, and the concurrence, of three is necessary for decision of a case, except that they must be unanimous to affirm the position of the government on a petition for a writ of quo warranto.
(b) Each court of civil appeals shall sit in its district at a time and place prescribed by law. The terms of Courts of criminal appeals is from the first Monday in October through the last Saturday in September.
(c) The court of criminal appeals has districtwide appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases subject to limitation and regulation by law.
(d) Courts of criminal appeals have authority to ascertain such matters of fact as may be necessary to the exercise of their jurisdiction.
(e) Each court of criminal appeals or any judge thereof may issue writs of habeas corpus, and may issue, subject to regulation by law, such writs as may be necessary to enforce the jurisdiction of the court.
Section. Courts of Civil Appeals.
(a) The legislature shall divide the state into as many supreme judicial districts as may be necessary and in each district shall establish a court of civil appeals consisting of a chief justice and two associate justices.
(b) Each court of civil appeals shall sit in its district at a time and place prescribed by law.
(c) Each court of civil appeals has appellate jurisdiction within its district of all civil cases of which district or county courts have original or appellate jurisdiction, subject to limitation and regulation by law.
(d) Each court of civil appeals may have other original or appellate jurisdiction as provided by law.
Section. District Courts.
(a) The legislature shall divide the state into judicial districts and in each district establish a district court and provide for one or more judges in that district, who shall be selected at random from among the top 10 percent of applicants, based on their performance on objective examinations on the principles and history of law and court procedure, at least half of the questions of which shall be on the historical backgrounds of the drafting and ratification of the constitutions of the United State and State of Texas.
(1) Each judge shall serve for a period of 90 days.
(2) Cases shall be assigned at random to judges or multi-judge panels of judges.
(b) Except as otherwise provided by law, each district court shall sit at the county seat of the county in which the case is pending.
(c) Each district court shall hold such terms as may be provided by general or local law, but at least twice each year must hold regular terms of court in each county in the district.
(d) Each district court has original jurisdiction of all:
(2) misdemeanors involving official misconduct;
(3) causes or actions in which the amount in controversy exceeds an amount to be prescribed by statutem exclusive of interest;
(4) suits in behalf of the state to recover penalties, forfeitures, or escheats;
(5) cases of divorce;
(6) suits to recover damages for defamation of character;
(7) suits for trial of title to land and for the enforcement of liens thereon;
(8) suits for the trial of the right to property levied upon by virtue of any writ of execution, sequestration, or attachment if the value of the property levied on equals or exceeds an amount to be prescribed by statute;
(9) contested elections; and
(10) causes of action for which a remedy or jurisdiction is not otherwise provided.
(e) Each district court has:
(1) original jurisdiction and general control over executors, administrators, guardians, and minors, subject to regulation by law;
(2) appellate jurisdiction and general control over probate matters within the jurisdiction of the county court unless otherwise provided by general or local law;
(3) general probate jurisdiction unless otherwise provided by general or local law; and
(4) appellate jurisdiction over the county commissioners court subject to limitation and regulation by law.
(f) The legislature by local or general law may increase, diminish, or eliminate the jurisdiction of either the district or county court in probate matters, but shall conform the jurisdiction of other affected courts to the change.
(g) Each district court has such other original or appellate jurisdiction as may be provided by law.
(h) Each district court may issue injunctions; writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, and certiorari; and writs necessary to enforce its jurisdiction.
Section . County Courts.
(a) The legislature shall establish in each county a county court. The county court is a court of record.
(b) The county court has original jurisdiction of:
(1) all misdemeanors of which exclusive original jurisdiction is not given to the district court or justice court;
(2) all misdemeanors in which the fine to be imposed exceeds an amount prescribed by statute;
(3) all civil cases, except suits for recovery of land, in which the amount in controversy falls within a range to re prescribed by statute, exclusive of interest; and
(4) all probate matters not placed by local or general law within the exclusive jurisdiction of another court.
(c) Subject to regulation by law, the county court has jurisdiction of appeals in all cases decided by a justice court except civil cases in which the judgment appealed from does not exceed an amount to be prescribed by statute, exclusive of costs. Appeals from justice courts must be tried de novo in the county court.
(d) The county court may issue injunctions, writs of mandamus, and writs necessary to enforce its jurisdiction.
(e) The county court may issue writs of habeas corpus in cases involving matters within the jurisdiction of the county court or any inferior court.
(f) In any county in which there is a criminal district court:
(1) the county court has no criminal jurisdiction unless otherwise provided by law; and
(2) appeals in criminal cases from justice courts and other inferior courts lie to the criminal district court, subject to regulation by law, and from that court to the court of criminal appeals.
(g) The legislature by local or general law may increase, diminish, or otherwise change the civil and criminal jurisdiction of county courts and shall conform the jurisdiction of other courts to the change.
(h) The county court shall hold at least four terms annually for both civil and criminal business. Dates of these terms are to be fixed by law or by the county commissioners court under authority of law. Other terms may be fixed by the county commissioners court. The county court may conduct probate business at any time under such regulations as may be prescribed by law. The county commissioners court may not change the number or dates of terms more often than once each year.
(i) Prosecutions in the county court are to be commenced in the manner provided by law.
Section 7. Justice Courts.
(a) The county commissioners court shall divide the county into not fewer than four nor more than eight justice precincts. Each justice precinct is to be served by one justice court, but in any precinct containing a city of 8,000 or more inhabitants, the county commissioners court may provide for two justice courts. The judge of each justice court is a justice of the peace.
(b) Justice courts shall sit at the times and places provided by law.
(c) Justice courts have jurisdiction of:
(1) all criminal cases in which the maximum permissible penalty or fine does not exceed an amount to be prescribed by statute;
(2) all civil cases in which the amount in controversy does not exceed an amount to be prescribed by statute, exclusive of interest except those civil cases in which exclusive original jurisdiction is vested in the county or district courts; and
(3) such other criminal and civil matters as may be provided by law.
(d) Justices of the peace are ex officio notaries public.
Section . Assignment of District Judges.
(a) The legislature shall provide for the holding of district court when the district judge is absent, disabled, or disqualified.
(b) District judges may exchange districts or hold court for each other when they consider it expedient and shall do so if required by law.
Section . Rules of Procedure.
The supreme court may promulgate for all courts rules of procedure not inconsistent with the laws of the state.
Section . Qualfications of Judges.
(a) A justice or judge of the supreme court, a court of criminal appeals, or a court of civil appeals must be a citizen of the United States and of this state at the time of election; must be at least 35 years old; and among the top 10 percent of applicants, based on their performance on objective examinations on the principles and history of law and court procedure, at least half of the questions of which shall be on the historical backgrounds of the drafting and ratification of the constitutions of the United States and State of Texas.
(b) A judge of a district court must be a citizen of the United States and of this state; must have resided in the district for two years next preceding election and continue to reside in the district during the term of office; and among the top 10 percent of applicants, based on their performance on objective examinations on the principles and history of law and court procedure, at least half of the questions of which shall be on the historical backgrounds of the drafting and ratification of the constitutions of the United States and State of Texas.
(c) A judge of a county court must be well informed in the law of the state, and among the top 20 percent of applicants, based on their performance on objective examinations on the principles and history of law and court procedure, at least half of the questions of which shall be on the historical backgrounds of the drafting and ratification of the constitutions of the United States and State of Texas.
Amendments to this constitution shall be proposed by a vote of 60 percent of the members of both houses of the Legislature, or a petition of 10 percent of the citizens of Texas qualified to vote in the previous election.
Ratification of amendments to this constitution shall require an affirmative vote of 60 percent of the voters qualified to vote in the previous election, totaled statewide, and a majority of such voters in 60 percent of the counties.
Article. Adoption and Transition.
This constitution shall be adopted by a referendum of a majority of the citizens of Texas qualified to vote according to its standards.
All nonconflicting provisions of the previous state constitution not included in this constitution shall become referendum statutes, which shall expire ten years after adoption of this constitution, unless re-enacted.
Portions of the previous constitution which become referendum statutes:
Responsibiity for collection of revenues shall be transferred from the comptroller of public accounts to the treasurer, and the comptroller shall audit the finances of government operations.
Section. Reprieves, Commutations, Pardons, and Remissions.
(a) The Board of Pardons and Paroles is composed of three members. Members serve six-year terms. One member is appointed every two years. To be eligible for appointment, a person must have been a resident citizen of the state for at least two years immediately prior to appointment. The governor, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, and presiding justice of the court of criminal appeals shall each appoint one member with the advice and consent of the senate. If a vacancy occurs, it is filled in the same manner by the officer making the original appointment. Appointments made while the legislature is not in session are subject to the advice and consent of the senate during the following session.
(b) The governor may grant one reprieve in a capital case for a period not to exceed 30 days, may revoke paroles or conditional pardons, and with the advice and consent of the legislature, may grant reprieves, commutations, or pardons in the case of treason. After conviction and on the written and signed recommendation of a majority of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the governor may grant reprieves, commutations, or pardons for criminal offenses other than treason or impeachment. As provided by law, the governor may remit fines or forfeitures on the written recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
(c) The Board of Pardons and Paroles shall keep a record of the reasons for its actions. The legislature may enact parole laws and may regulate procedure before the board.
Commissioner of the General Land Office
The commissioner of the general land office shall continue under the authority of a referendum statute. The commissioner of the general land office shall administer at the seat of government a general land office in which all land titles that emanate from the state must be registered and shall perform other duties as provided by law.
The railroad commission consists of three commissioners elected at a statewide general election for six-year terms. One commissioner is elected every two years. If a vacancy occurs, it is filled by appointment by the governor until the next statewide general election. The legislature by law may prescribe qualifications for the office of commissioner. The commission has the authority and performs the duties prescribed by law. The legislature by law may abolish the commission.
State Building Commission.
(a) The State Building Commission consists of the governor, the attorney general, and a state officer designated by law, whose appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the senate unless already confirmed in that designated office.
(b) As regulated by law and on appropriation by the legislature, the State Building Commission may spend money from the State Building Fund to acquire property for and to build, remodel, and equip state buildings; may salvage and dispose of property unsuitable for state purposes; and may make necessary contracts to carry out the purposes of this subsection.
Veteran's Land Board.
The Veterans' Land Board consists of the commissioner of the general land office and two citizens of Texas, one with knowledge of the affairs of veterans and one with knowledge of finance. Citizen members serve four-year terms.
One member is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate every two years. Citizen member vacancies are filled by gubernatorial appointment for the unexpired term. Each citizen member shall make bond in an amount prescribed by law. The commissioner of the general land office is chairman of the board and administrator of the Veterans' Land Program under regulations prescribed by law. In the absence of the commissioner, the chief clerk of the general land office acts as chairman of the board.
Water Development Board.
The Water Development Board consists of the number of members prescribed by law. The members are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate for terms prescribed by law.