[Note: This proposal is under construction. Initially it consists of
groups of clauses which will be reordered, numbered and organized into sections
and articles when it is more complete. It is published online to elicit
suggestions for additions and changes. Send comments to
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
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
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
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
(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
(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
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
(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
(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,
(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
(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
(3) For compensatory or damage relief, at least ten members.
(4) For disablement for incompetency or punitive relief, all twelve
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
(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
(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
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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
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
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;
(b) In a jury trial, one or more of the following situations has
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
No power of suspending laws in this State shall be exercised except by
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
(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
The qualifications of the members of the Legislature shall be as
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(b) Each house determines the rules of its own proceedings. Except for
the election of house or senate officers, elections must be by recorded
(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
(d) At the beginning of each regular session, the house of
representatives shall organize temporarily and elect a speaker from among its
(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
(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
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
(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
(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
(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
(9) authorizing the adoption or legitimation of children;
(10) locating or changing county seats;
(11) incorporating cities, towns, or villages or changing their
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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;
(31) in any other case in which a general law is or can be made
(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
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
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
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
(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
(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
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
(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
(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
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
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
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
Portions of the previous constitution which become referendum
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
(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
(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
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.