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THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION
Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God, the people of the State of Texas, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
ARTICLE 1. BILL OF RIGHTS
That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, we declare:
Sec. 1. FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE. Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States.
Sec. 2. INHERENT POLITICAL POWER; REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.
Sec. 3. EQUAL RIGHTS. All free men, when they form a social compact, have equal rights, and no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate public emoluments, or privileges, but in consideration of public services.
Sec. 3a. EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin. This amendment is self-operative.
(Added Nov. 7, 1972.)
Sec. 4. RELIGIOUS TESTS. 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, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.
Sec. 5. WITNESSES NOT DISQUALIFIED BY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS; OATHS AND AFFIRMATIONS. 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, but all oaths or affirmations shall be administered in the mode most binding upon the conscience, and shall be taken subject to the pains and penalties of perjury.
Sec. 6. FREEDOM OF WORSHIP. All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. 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.
Sec. 7. APPROPRIATIONS FOR SECTARIAN PURPOSES. 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.
Sec. 8. FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PRESS; LIBEL. Every person shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that privilege; and no law shall ever be passed curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press. In prosecutions for the publication of papers, investigating the conduct of officers, or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence. And in all indictments for libels, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.
Sec. 9. SEARCHES AND SEIZURES. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from all unreasonable seizures or searches, and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue without describing them as near as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.
Sec. 10. RIGHTS OF ACCUSED IN CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS. 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.
(Amended Nov. 5, 1918.)
Sec. 11. BAIL. 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.
Sec. 11a. MULTIPLE CONVICTIONS; DENIAL OF BAIL. (a) Any person (1) 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, (2) accused of a felony less than capital in this State, committed while on bail for a prior felony for which he has been indicted, (3) accused of a felony less than capital in this State involving the use of a deadly weapon after being convicted of a prior felony, or (4) accused of a violent or sexual offense committed while under the supervision of a criminal justice agency of the State or a political subdivision of the State for a prior felony, after a hearing, and upon evidence substantially showing the guilt of the accused of the offense in (1) or (3) above, of the offense committed while on bail in (2) above, or of the offense in (4) above committed while under the supervision of a criminal justice agency of the State or a political subdivision of the State for a prior felony, may be denied bail pending trial, by a district judge in this State, if said order denying bail pending trial is issued within seven calendar days subsequent to the time of incarceration of the accused; provided, however, that if the accused is not accorded a trial upon the accusation under (1) or (3) above, the accusation and indictment used under (2) above, or the accusation or indictment used under (4) above within sixty (60) days from the time of his incarceration upon the accusation, 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, and said appeal shall be given preference by the Court of Criminal Appeals.
(b) In this section:
(1) "Violent offense" means:
(B) aggravated assault, if the accused used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault;
(C) aggravated kidnapping; or
(D) aggravated robbery.
(2) "Sexual offense" means:
(A) aggravated sexual assault;
(B) sexual assault; or
(C) indecency with a child.
(Added Nov. 6, 1956; amended Nov. 8, 1977; Subsec. (a) amended and (b) added Nov. 2, 1993.)
Sec. 11b. VIOLATION OF CONDITION OF RELEASE PENDING TRIAL; DENIAL OF BAIL. Any person who is accused in this state of a felony or an offense involving family violence, who is released on bail pending trial, and whose bail is subsequently revoked or forfeited for a violation of a condition of release may be denied bail pending trial if a judge or magistrate in this state determines by a preponderance of the evidence at a subsequent hearing that the person violated a condition of release related to the safety of a victim of the alleged offense or to the safety of the community.
(Added Nov. 8, 2005; amended Nov. 6, 2007.)
Sec. 11c. VIOLATION OF AN ORDER FOR EMERGENCY PROTECTION INVOLVING FAMILY VIOLENCE. The legislature by general law may provide that any person who violates an order for emergency protection issued by a judge or magistrate after an arrest for an offense involving family violence or who violates an active protective order rendered by a court in a family violence case, including a temporary ex parte order that has been served on the person, or who engages in conduct that constitutes an offense involving the violation of an order described by this section may be taken into custody and, pending trial or other court proceedings, denied release on bail if following a hearing a judge or magistrate in this state determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the person violated the order or engaged in the conduct constituting the offense.
(Added Nov. 6, 2007.)
Sec. 12. HABEAS CORPUS. The writ of habeas corpus is a writ of right, and shall never be suspended. The Legislature shall enact laws to render the remedy speedy and effectual.
Sec. 13. EXCESSIVE BAIL OR FINES; CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT; REMEDY BY DUE COURSE OF LAW. 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 course of law.
Sec. 14. DOUBLE JEOPARDY. 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.
Sec. 15. RIGHT OF TRIAL BY JURY. 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.
(Amended Aug. 24, 1935.)
Sec. 15-a. COMMITMENT OF PERSONS OF UNSOUND MIND. 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.
(Added Nov. 6, 1956.)
Sec. 16. BILLS OF ATTAINDER; EX POST FACTO OR RETROACTIVE LAWS; IMPAIRING OBLIGATION OF CONTRACTS. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, retroactive law, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be made.
Sec. 17. TAKING, DAMAGING, OR DESTROYING PROPERTY FOR PUBLIC USE; SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES; CONTROL OF PRIVILEGES AND FRANCHISES. (a) 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 only if the taking, damage, or destruction is for:
(1) the ownership, use, and enjoyment of the property, notwithstanding an incidental use, by:
(A) the State, a political subdivision of the State, or the public at large; or
(B) an entity granted the power of eminent domain under law; or
(2) the elimination of urban blight on a particular parcel of property.
(b) In this section, "public use" does not include the taking of property under Subsection (a) of this section for transfer to a private entity for the primary purpose of economic development or enhancement of tax revenues.
(c) On or after January 1, 2010, the legislature may enact a general, local, or special law granting the power of eminent domain to an entity only on a two-thirds vote of all the members elected to each house.
(d) When a person's property is taken under Subsection (a) of this section, except for the use of the State, compensation as described by Subsection (a) 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.
(Amended Nov. 3, 2009.)
Sec. 18. IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT. No person shall ever be imprisoned for debt.
Sec. 19. DEPRIVATION OF LIFE, LIBERTY, ETC.; DUE COURSE OF LAW. No citizen of this State shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, privileges or immunities, or in any manner disfranchised, except by the due course of the law of the land.
Sec. 20. OUTLAWRY OR TRANSPORTATION FOR OFFENSE. No citizen shall be outlawed. No person shall be transported out of the State for any offense committed within the same. This section does not prohibit an agreement with another state providing for the confinement of inmates of this State in the penal or correctional facilities of that state.
(Amended Nov. 5, 1985.)
Sec. 21. CORRUPTION OF BLOOD; FORFEITURE; SUICIDES. 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.
Sec. 22. TREASON. 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.
Sec. 23. RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.
Sec. 24. MILITARY SUBORDINATE TO CIVIL AUTHORITY. The military shall at all times be subordinate to the civil authority.
Sec. 25. QUARTERING SOLDIERS IN HOUSES. 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.
Sec. 26. PERPETUITIES AND MONOPOLIES; PRIMOGENITURE OR ENTAILMENTS. 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.
Sec. 27. RIGHT OF ASSEMBLY; PETITION FOR REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES. 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.
Sec. 28. SUSPENSION OF LAWS. No power of suspending laws in this State shall be exercised except by the Legislature.
Sec. 29. PROVISIONS OF BILL OF RIGHTS EXCEPTED FROM POWERS OF GOVERNMENT; TO FOREVER REMAIN INVIOLATE. To guard against transgressions of the high powers herein delegated, we declare that everything in this "Bill of Rights" 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.
Sec. 30. RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMS. (a) A crime victim has the following rights:
(1) the right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process; and
(2) the right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.
(b) On the request of a crime victim, the crime victim has the following rights:
(1) the right to notification of court proceedings;
(2) the right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim's testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial;
(3) the right to confer with a representative of the prosecutor's office;
(4) the right to restitution; and
(5) the right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused.
(c) The legislature may enact laws to define the term "victim" and to enforce these and other rights of crime victims.
(d) The state, through its prosecuting attorney, has the right to enforce the rights of crime victims.
(e) The legislature may enact laws to provide that a judge, attorney for the state, peace officer, or law enforcement agency is not liable for a failure or inability to provide a right enumerated in this section. The failure or inability of any person to provide a right or service enumerated in this section may not be used by a defendant in a criminal case as a ground for appeal or post-conviction writ of habeas corpus. A victim or guardian or legal representative of a victim has standing to enforce the rights enumerated in this section but does not have standing to participate as a party in a criminal proceeding or to contest the disposition of any charge.
(Added Nov. 7, 1989.)
Sec. 31. COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS OF CRIME FUND; COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS OF CRIME AUXILIARY FUND; USE OF FUND MONEY. (a) The compensation to victims of crime fund created by general law and the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund created by general law are each a separate dedicated account in the general revenue fund.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section and subject to legislative appropriation, money deposited to the credit of the compensation to victims of crime fund or the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund from any source may be expended as provided by law only for delivering or funding victim-related compensation, services, or assistance.
(c) The legislature may provide by law that money in the compensation to victims of crime fund or in the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund may be expended for the purpose of assisting victims of episodes of mass violence if other money appropriated for emergency assistance is depleted.
(Added Nov. 4, 1997.)
Sec. 32. MARRIAGE. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
(Added Nov. 8, 2005.)
Sec. 33. ACCESS AND USE OF PUBLIC BEACHES. (a) In this section, "public beach" means a state-owned beach bordering on the seaward shore of the Gulf of Mexico, extending from mean low tide to the landward boundary of state-owned submerged land, and any larger area extending from the line of mean low tide to the line of vegetation bordering on the Gulf of Mexico to which the public has acquired a right of use or easement to or over the area by prescription or dedication or has established and retained a right by virtue of continuous right in the public under Texas common law.
(b) The public, individually and collectively, has an unrestricted right to use and a right of ingress to and egress from a public beach. The right granted by this subsection is dedicated as a permanent easement in favor of the public.
(c) The legislature may enact laws to protect the right of the public to access and use a public beach and to protect the public beach easement from interference and encroachments.
(d) This section does not create a private right of enforcement.
(Added Nov. 3, 2009.)
ARTICLE 2. THE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT
Sec. 1. DIVISION OF POWERS; THREE SEPARATE DEPARTMENTS; EXERCISE OF POWER PROPERLY ATTACHED TO OTHER DEPARTMENTS. The powers of the Government of the State of Texas shall be divided into three distinct departments, each of which shall be confided to a separate body of magistracy, to wit: Those which are Legislative to one; those which are Executive to another, and those which are Judicial to another; and no person, or collection of persons, being of one of these departments, shall exercise any power properly attached to either of the others, except in the instances herein expressly permitted.
ARTICLE 3. LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT
Sec. 1. SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. The Legislative power of this State shall be vested in a Senate and House of Representatives, which together shall be styled "The Legislature of the State of Texas."
Sec. 2. MEMBERSHIP OF SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. The Senate shall consist of thirty-one members. The House of Representatives shall consist of 150 members.
(Amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 2: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 3. ELECTION AND TERM OF OFFICE OF SENATORS. The Senators shall be chosen by the qualified voters for the term of four years; but a new Senate shall be chosen after every apportionment, and the Senators elected after each apportionment shall be divided by lot into two classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first two years, and those of the second class at the expiration of four years, so that one half of the Senators shall be chosen biennially thereafter. Senators shall take office following their election, on the day set by law for the convening of the Regular Session of the Legislature, and shall serve thereafter for the full term of years to which elected.
(Amended Nov. 8, 1966, and Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 3: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 4. ELECTION AND TERM OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen by the qualified voters for the term of two years. Representatives shall take office following their election, on the day set by law for the convening of the Regular Session of the Legislature, and shall serve thereafter for the full term of years to which elected.
(Amended Nov. 8, 1966, and Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 4: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 5. MEETINGS; ORDER OF BUSINESS. (a) The Legislature shall meet every two years at such time as may be provided by law and at other times when convened by the Governor.
(b) When convened in regular Session, the first thirty days thereof shall be devoted to the introduction of bills and resolutions, acting upon emergency appropriations, passing upon the confirmation of the recess appointees of the Governor and such emergency matters as may be submitted by the Governor in special messages to the Legislature. During the succeeding thirty days of the regular session of the Legislature the various committees of each House shall hold hearings to consider all bills and resolutions and other matters then pending; and such emergency matters as may be submitted by the Governor. During the remainder of the session the Legislature shall act upon such bills and resolutions as may be then pending and upon such emergency matters as may be submitted by the Governor in special messages to the Legislature.
(c) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), either House may determine its order of business by an affirmative vote of four-fifths of its membership.
(Amended Nov. 4, 1930, and Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 5: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 6. QUALIFICATIONS OF SENATORS. No person shall be a Senator, unless he be a citizen of the United States, and, at the time of his election a qualified voter of this State, and shall have been a resident of this State five years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of twenty-six years.
(Amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 6: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 7. QUALIFICATIONS OF REPRESENTATIVES. No person shall be a Representative, unless he be a citizen of the United States, and, at the time of his election, a qualified voter of this State, and shall have been a resident of this State two years next preceding his election, the last year thereof a resident of the district for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of twenty-one years.
(Amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 7: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 8. EACH HOUSE JUDGE OF QUALIFICATIONS AND ELECTION; CONTESTS. Each House shall be the judge of the qualifications and election of its own members; but contested elections shall be determined in such manner as shall be provided by law.
Sec. 9. PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF SENATE; LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OFFICE VACANCY; SPEAKER OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. (a) The Senate shall, at the beginning and close of each session, and at such other times as may be necessary, elect one of its members President pro tempore, who shall perform the duties of the Lieutenant Governor in any case of absence or temporary disability of that officer. If the office of Lieutenant Governor becomes vacant, the President pro tempore of the Senate shall convene the Committee of the Whole Senate within 30 days after the vacancy occurs. The Committee of the Whole shall elect one of its members to perform the duties of the Lieutenant Governor in addition to the member's duties as Senator until the next general election. If the Senator so elected ceases to be a Senator before the election of a new Lieutenant Governor, another Senator shall be elected in the same manner to perform the duties of the Lieutenant Governor until the next general election. Until the Committee of the Whole elects one of its members for this purpose, the President pro tempore shall perform the duties of the Lieutenant Governor as provided by this subsection.
(b) The House of Representatives shall, when it first assembles, organize temporarily, and thereupon proceed to the election of a Speaker from its own members.
(c) Each House shall choose its other officers.
(Amended Nov. 6, 1984; Subsec. (a) amended Nov. 2, 1999.)
Sec. 10. QUORUM; ADJOURNMENTS FROM DAY TO DAY; COMPELLING ATTENDANCE. Two-thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide.
Sec. 11. RULES OF PROCEDURE; EXPULSION OF MEMBER. Each House may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish members for disorderly conduct, and, with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same offense.
Sec. 12. JOURNALS OF PROCEEDINGS; ENTERING YEAS AND NAYS. (a) Each house of the legislature shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same.
(b) A vote taken by either house must be by record vote with the vote of each member entered in the journal of that house if the vote is on final passage of a bill, a resolution proposing or ratifying a constitutional amendment, or another resolution other than a resolution of a purely ceremonial or honorary nature. Either house by rule may provide for exceptions to this requirement for a bill that applies only to one district or political subdivision of this state. For purposes of this subsection, a vote on final passage includes a vote on third reading in a house, or on second reading if the house suspends the requirement for three readings, on whether to concur in the other house's amendments, and on whether to adopt a conference committee report.
(c) The yeas and nays of the members of either house on any other question shall, at the desire of any three members present, be entered on the journals.
(d) Each house shall make each record vote required under Subsection (b) of this section, including the vote of each individual member as recorded in the journal of that house, available to the public for a reasonable period of not less than two years through the Internet or a successor electronic communications system accessible by the public. For a record vote on a bill or on a resolution proposing or ratifying a constitutional amendment, the record vote must be accessible to the public by reference to the designated number of the bill or resolution and by reference to its subject.
(Subsecs. (a) and (c) amended, and (b) and (d) added Nov. 6, 2007.)
Sec. 13. VACANCIES; WRITS OF ELECTION. (a) When vacancies occur in either House, the Governor, or the person exercising the power of the Governor, shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies; and should the Governor fail to issue a writ of election to fill any such vacancy within twenty days after it occurs, the returning officer of the district in which such vacancy may have happened, shall be authorized to order an election for that purpose.
(b) The legislature may provide by general law for the filling of a vacancy in the legislature without an election if only one person qualifies and declares a candidacy in an election to fill the vacancy.
(Amended Nov. 6, 2001.)
Sec. 14. PRIVILEGED FROM ARREST. Senators and Representatives shall, except in cases of treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the Legislature, and in going to and returning from the same.
(Amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 14: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 15. DISRESPECTFUL OR DISORDERLY CONDUCT; OBSTRUCTION OF PROCEEDINGS. Each House may punish, by imprisonment, during its sessions, any person not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly conduct in its presence, or for obstructing any of its proceedings; provided, such imprisonment shall not, at any one time, exceed forty-eight hours.
Sec. 16. OPEN SESSIONS. The sessions of each House shall be open, except the Senate when in Executive session.
Sec. 17. ADJOURNMENTS. Neither House shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that where the Legislature may be sitting.
Sec. 18. INELIGIBILITY FOR OTHER OFFICES; INTEREST IN CONTRACTS. No Senator or Representative shall, during the term for which he was elected, be eligible to (1) any civil office of profit under this State which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which may have been increased, during such term, or (2) any office or place, the appointment to which may be made, in whole or in part, by either branch of the Legislature; provided, however, the fact that the term of office of Senators and Representatives does not end precisely on the last day of December but extends a few days into January of the succeeding year shall be considered as de minimis, and the ineligibility herein created shall terminate on the last day in December of the last full calendar year of the term for which he was elected. No member of either House shall vote for any other member for any office whatever, which may be filled by a vote of the Legislature, except in such cases as are in this Constitution provided, nor shall any member of the Legislature be interested, either directly or indirectly, in any contract with the State, or any county thereof, authorized by any law passed during the term for which he was elected.
(Amended Nov. 5, 1968.)
Sec. 19. INELIGIBILITY OF PERSONS HOLDING OTHER OFFICES. No judge of any court, Secretary of State, Attorney General, clerk of any court of record, or any person holding a lucrative office under the United States, or this State, or any foreign government shall during the term for which he is elected or appointed, be eligible to the Legislature.
Sec. 20. COLLECTORS OF TAXES; PERSONS ENTRUSTED WITH PUBLIC MONEY; INELIGIBILITY. No person who at any time may have been a collector of taxes, or who may have been otherwise entrusted with public money, shall be eligible to the Legislature, or to any office of profit or trust under the State government, until he shall have obtained a discharge for the amount of such collections, or for all public moneys with which he may have been entrusted.
Sec. 21. WORDS SPOKEN IN DEBATE. No member shall be questioned in any other place for words spoken in debate in either House.
Sec. 22. DISCLOSURE OF PRIVATE INTEREST IN MEASURE OR BILL; NOT TO VOTE. A member who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill, proposed, or pending before the Legislature, shall disclose the fact to the House, of which he is a member, and shall not vote thereon.
Sec. 23. REMOVAL FROM DISTRICT OR COUNTY FROM WHICH ELECTED. If any Senator or Representative remove his residence from the district or county for which he was elected, his office shall thereby become vacant, and the vacancy shall be filled as provided in section 13 of this article.
Sec. 23a. (Repealed Nov. 4, 1997.)
Sec. 24. COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF LEGISLATURE; DURATION OF SESSIONS. (a) Members of the Legislature shall receive from the Public Treasury a salary of Six Hundred Dollars ($600) per month, unless a greater amount is recommended by the Texas Ethics Commission and approved by the voters of this State in which case the salary is that amount. Each member shall also receive a per diem set by the Texas Ethics Commission for each day during each Regular and Special Session of the Legislature.
(b) No Regular Session shall be of longer duration than one hundred and forty (140) days.
(c) In addition to the per diem the Members of each House shall be entitled to mileage at the same rate as prescribed by law for employees of the State of Texas.
(Amended Nov. 4, 1930, Nov. 2, 1954, Nov. 8, 1960, April 22, 1975, and Nov. 5, 1991.)
Sec. 24a. TEXAS ETHICS COMMISSION. (a) The Texas Ethics Commission is a state agency consisting of the following eight members:
(1) two members of different political parties appointed by the governor from a list of at least 10 names submitted by the members of the house of representatives from each political party required by law to hold a primary;
(2) two members of different political parties appointed by the governor from a list of at least 10 names submitted by the members of the senate from each political party required by law to hold a primary;
(3) two members of different political parties appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives from a list of at least 10 names submitted by the members of the house from each political party required by law to hold a primary; and
(4) two members of different political parties appointed by the lieutenant governor from a list of at least 10 names submitted by the members of the senate from each political party required by law to hold a primary.
(b) The governor may reject all names on any list submitted under Subsection (a)(1) or (2) of this section and require a new list to be submitted. The members of the commission shall elect annually the chairman of the commission.
(c) With the exception of the initial appointees, commission members serve for four-year terms. Each appointing official will make one initial appointment for a two-year term and one initial appointment for a four-year term. A vacancy on the commission shall be filled for the unexpired portion of the term in the same manner as the original appointment. A member who has served for one term and any part of a second term is not eligible for reappointment.
(d) The commission has the powers and duties provided by law.
(e) The commission may recommend the salary of the members of the legislature and may recommend that the salary of the speaker of the house of representatives and the lieutenant governor be set at an amount higher than that of other members. The commission shall set the per diem of members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, and the per diem shall reflect reasonable estimates of costs and may be raised or lowered biennially as necessary to pay those costs, but the per diem may not exceed during a calendar year the amount allowed as of January 1 of that year for federal income tax purposes as a deduction for living expenses incurred in a legislative day by a state legislator in connection with the legislator's business as a legislator, disregarding any exception in federal law for legislators residing near the Capitol.
(f) At each general election for state and county officers following a proposed change in salary, the voters shall approve or disapprove the salary recommended by the commission if the commission recommends a change in salary. If the voters disapprove the salary, the salary continues at the amount paid immediately before disapproval until another amount is recommended by the commission and approved by the voters. If the voters approve the salary, the approved salary takes effect January 1 of the next odd-numbered year.
(Added Nov. 5, 1991.)
Sec. 25. SENATORIAL DISTRICTS. The State shall be divided into Senatorial Districts of contiguous territory, and each district shall be entitled to elect one Senator.
(Amended Nov. 6, 2001.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISION for Sec. 25: See Appendix, Note 3.)
Sec. 26. APPORTIONMENT OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. The members of the House of Representatives shall be apportioned among the several counties, according to the number of population in each, as nearly as may be, on a ratio obtained by dividing the population of the State, as ascertained by the most recent United States census, by the number of members of which the House is composed; provided, that whenever a single county has sufficient population to be entitled to a Representative, such county shall be formed into a separate Representative District, and when two or more counties are required to make up the ratio of representation, such counties shall be contiguous to each other; and when any one county has more than sufficient population to be entitled to one or more Representatives, such Representative or Representatives shall be apportioned to such county, and for any surplus of population it may be joined in a Representative District with any other contiguous county or counties.
Sec. 26a. (Repealed Nov. 2, 1999.)
(TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 26a: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 27. ELECTIONS. Elections for Senators and Representatives shall be general throughout the State, and shall be regulated by law.
Sec. 28. TIME FOR APPORTIONMENT; APPORTIONMENT BY LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING BOARD. The Legislature shall, at its first regular session after the publication of each United States decennial census, apportion the state into senatorial and representative districts, agreeable to the provisions of Sections 25 and 26 of this Article. In the event the Legislature shall at any such first regular session following the publication of a United States decennial census, fail to make such apportionment, same shall be done by the Legislative Redistricting Board of Texas, which is hereby created, and shall be composed of five (5) members, as follows: The Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Attorney General, the Comptroller of Public Accounts and the Commissioner of the General Land Office, a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum. Said Board shall assemble in the City of Austin within ninety (90) days after the final adjournment of such regular session. The Board shall, within sixty (60) days after assembling, apportion the state into senatorial and representative districts, or into senatorial or representative districts, as the failure of action of such Legislature may make necessary. Such apportionment shall be in writing and signed by three (3) or more of the members of the Board duly acknowledged as the act and deed of such Board, and, when so executed and filed with the Secretary of State, shall have force and effect of law. Such apportionment shall become effective at the next succeeding statewide general election. The Supreme Court of Texas shall have jurisdiction to compel such Board to perform its duties in accordance with the provisions of this section by writ of mandamus or other extraordinary writs conformable to the usages of law. The Legislature shall provide necessary funds for clerical and technical aid and for other expenses incidental to the work of the Board, and the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be entitled to receive per diem and travel expense during the Board's session in the same manner and amount as they would receive while attending a special session of the Legislature.
(Amended Nov. 2, 1948, and Nov. 6, 2001.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISION for Sec. 28: See Appendix, Note 3.)
Sec. 29. ENACTING CLAUSE OF LAWS. The enacting clause of all laws shall be: "Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas."
Sec. 30. LAWS PASSED BY BILL; AMENDMENTS CHANGING PURPOSE. No law shall be passed, except by bill, and no bill shall be so amended in its passage through either House, as to change its original purpose.
Sec. 31. ORIGINATION IN EITHER HOUSE; AMENDMENT. Bills may originate in either House, and, when passed by such House, may be amended, altered or rejected by the other.
Sec. 32. READING ON THREE SEVERAL DAYS; SUSPENSION OF RULE. No bill shall have the force of a law, until it has been read on three several days in each House, and free discussion allowed thereon; but four-fifths of the House, in which the bill may be pending, may suspend this rule, the yeas and nays being taken on the question of suspension, and entered upon the journals.
(Amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 32: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 33. REVENUE BILLS. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.
(Amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 33: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 34. DEFEATED BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS. After a bill has been considered and defeated by either House of the Legislature, no bill containing the same substance, shall be passed into a law during the same session. After a resolution has been acted on and defeated, no resolution containing the same substance, shall be considered at the same session.
Sec. 35. SUBJECTS AND TITLES OF BILLS. (a) No bill, (except general appropriation bills, which may embrace the various subjects and accounts, for and on account of which moneys are appropriated) shall contain more than one subject.
(b) The rules of procedure of each house shall require that the subject of each bill be expressed in its title in a manner that gives the legislature and the public reasonable notice of that subject. The legislature is solely responsible for determining compliance with the rule.
(c) A law, including a law enacted before the effective date of this subsection, may not be held void on the basis of an insufficient title.
(Subsec. (a) amended and (b) and (c) added Nov. 4, 1986.)
Sec. 36. REVIVAL OR AMENDMENT BY REFERENCE; RE-ENACTMENT AND PUBLICATION AT LENGTH. No law shall be revived or amended by reference to its title; but in such case the act revived, or the section or sections amended, shall be re-enacted and published at length.
Sec. 37. REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE AND REPORT. No bill shall be considered, unless it has been first referred to a committee and reported thereon, and no bill shall be passed which has not been presented and referred to and reported from a committee at least three days before the final adjournment of the Legislature.
Sec. 38. SIGNING BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS; ENTRY ON JOURNALS. The presiding officer of each House shall, in the presence of the House over which he presides, sign all bills and joint resolutions passed by the Legislature, after their titles have been publicly read before signing; and the fact of signing shall be entered on the journals.
Sec. 39. TIME OF TAKING EFFECT OF LAWS; EMERGENCIES; ENTRY ON JOURNAL. No law passed by the Legislature, except the general appropriation act, shall take effect or go into force until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which it was enacted, unless the Legislature shall, by a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each House, otherwise direct; said vote to be taken by yeas and nays, and entered upon the journals.
(Amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 39: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 40. SPECIAL SESSIONS; SUBJECTS OF LEGISLATION; DURATION. When the Legislature shall be convened in special session, there shall be no legislation upon subjects other than those designated in the proclamation of the Governor calling such session, or presented to them by the Governor; and no such session shall be of longer duration than thirty days.
Sec. 41. ELECTIONS BY SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. In all elections by the Senate and House of Representatives, jointly or separately, the vote shall be given viva voce, except in the election of their officers.
Sec. 42. (Repealed Aug. 5, 1969.)
Sec. 43. REVISION OF LAWS. (a) The Legislature shall provide for revising, digesting and publishing the laws, civil and criminal; provided, that in the adoption of and giving effect to any such digest or revision, the Legislature shall not be limited by sections 35 and 36 of this Article.
(b) In this section, "revision" includes a revision of the statutes on a particular subject and any enactment having the purpose, declared in the enactment, of codifying without substantive change statutes that individually relate to different subjects.
(Subsec. (a) amended and (b) added Nov. 4, 1986.)
Sec. 44. COMPENSATION OF PUBLIC OFFICERS, SERVANTS, AGENTS, AND CONTRACTORS; EXTRA COMPENSATION; UNAUTHORIZED CLAIMS; UNAUTHORIZED EMPLOYMENT. The Legislature shall provide by law for the compensation of all officers, servants, agents and public contractors, not provided for in this Constitution, but shall not grant extra compensation to any officer, agent, servant, or public contractors, after such public service shall have been performed or contract entered into, for the performance of the same; nor grant, by appropriation or otherwise, any amount of money out of the Treasury of the State, to any individual, on a claim, real or pretended, when the same shall not have been provided for by pre-existing law; nor employ any one in the name of the State, unless authorized by pre-existing law.
Sec. 45. CHANGE OF VENUE IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASES. The power to change the venue in civil and criminal cases shall be vested in the courts, to be exercised in such manner as shall be provided by law; and the Legislature shall pass laws for that purpose.
Sec. 46. UNIFORMITY IN COLLECTION OF FEES. (a) In this section, "fee" means a fee in a criminal or civil matter all or a portion of which is required to be collected by local officers, clerks, or other local personnel and remitted to the comptroller of public accounts for deposit in the manner provided for in the law imposing the fee.
(b) This section applies only if the legislature enacts by law a program to consolidate and standardize the collection, deposit, reporting, and remitting of fees.
(c) A fee imposed by the legislature after the enactment of the program described by Subsection (b) of this section is valid only if the requirements relating to its collection, deposit, reporting, and remitting conform to the program.
(d) A fee to which this section applies may take effect on a date before the next January 1 after the regular session at which the bill adopting the fee was enacted only if the bill is passed by a record vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house of the legislature on final consideration in each house.
(Added Nov. 6, 2001.)
Sec. 47. LOTTERIES AND GIFT ENTERPRISES; BINGO GAMES. (a) The Legislature shall pass laws prohibiting lotteries and gift enterprises in this State other than those authorized by Subsections (b), (d), and (e) of this section.
(b) The Legislature by law may authorize and regulate bingo games conducted by a church, synagogue, religious society, volunteer fire department, nonprofit veterans organization, fraternal organization, or nonprofit organization supporting medical research or treatment programs. A law enacted under this subsection must permit the qualified voters of any county, justice precinct, or incorporated city or town to determine from time to time by a majority vote of the qualified voters voting on the question at an election whether bingo games may be held in the county, justice precinct, or city or town. The law must also require that:
(1) all proceeds from the games are spent in Texas for charitable purposes of the organizations;
(2) the games are limited to one location as defined by law on property owned or leased by the church, synagogue, religious society, volunteer fire department, nonprofit veterans organization, fraternal organization, or nonprofit organization supporting medical research or treatment programs; and
(3) the games are conducted, promoted, and administered by members of the church, synagogue, religious society, volunteer fire department, nonprofit veterans organization, fraternal organization, or nonprofit organization supporting medical research or treatment programs.
(c) The law enacted by the Legislature authorizing bingo games must include:
(1) a requirement that the entities conducting the games report quarterly to the Comptroller of Public Accounts about the amount of proceeds that the entities collect from the games and the purposes for which the proceeds are spent; and
(2) criminal or civil penalties to enforce the reporting requirement.
(d) The Legislature by general law may permit charitable raffles conducted by a qualified religious society, qualified volunteer fire department, qualified volunteer emergency medical service, or qualified nonprofit organizations under the terms and conditions imposed by general law.
The law must also require that:
(1) all proceeds from the sale of tickets for the raffle must be spent for the charitable purposes of the organizations; and
(2) the charitable raffle is conducted, promoted, and administered exclusively by members of the qualified religious society, qualified volunteer fire department, qualified volunteer emergency medical service, or qualified nonprofit organization.
(e) The Legislature by general law may authorize the State to operate lotteries and may authorize the State to enter into a contract with one or more legal entities that will operate lotteries on behalf of the State.
(Subsec. (a) amended and (b) and (c) added Nov. 4, 1980; Subsec. (a) amended and (d) added Nov. 7, 1989; Subsec. (a) amended and (e) added Nov. 5, 1991.)
Sec. 48. (Repealed Aug. 5, 1969.)
Sec. 48a. (Repealed April 22, 1975.)
Sec. 48b. (Repealed April 22, 1975.)
Sec. 48c. (Blank.)
Sec. 48-d. (Repealed Sept. 13, 2003.)
Sec. 48-e. EMERGENCY SERVICES DISTRICTS. Laws may be enacted to provide for the establishment and creation of special districts to provide emergency services and to authorize the commissioners courts of participating counties to levy a tax on the ad valorem property situated in said districts not to exceed Ten Cents (10¢) on the One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) valuation for the support thereof; provided that no tax shall be levied in support of said districts until approved by a vote of the qualified voters residing therein. Such a district may provide emergency medical services, emergency ambulance services, rural fire prevention and control services, or other emergency services authorized by the Legislature.
(Added Nov. 3, 1987; amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 48-e: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 48-f. JAIL DISTRICTS. The legislature, by law, may provide for the creation, operation, and financing of jail districts and may authorize each district to issue bonds and other obligations and to levy an ad valorem tax on property located in the district to pay principal of and interest on the bonds and to pay for operation of the district. An ad valorem tax may not be levied and bonds secured by a property tax may not be issued until approved by the qualified voters of the district voting at an election called and held for that purpose.
(Added Nov. 3, 1987; amended Nov. 4, 1997, and Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 48-f: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 49. STATE DEBTS. (a) No debt shall be created by or on behalf of the State, except:
(1) to supply casual deficiencies of revenue, not to exceed in the aggregate at any one time two hundred thousand dollars;
(2) to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or defend the State in war;
(3) as otherwise authorized by this constitution; or
(4) as authorized by Subsections (b) through (f) of this section.
(b) The legislature, by joint resolution approved by at least two-thirds of the members of each house, may from time to time call an election and submit to the eligible voters of this State one or more propositions that, if approved by a majority of those voting on the question, authorize the legislature to create State debt for the purposes and subject to the limitations stated in the applicable proposition. Each election and proposition must conform to the requirements of Subsections (c) and (d) of this section.
(c) The legislature may call an election during any regular session of the legislature or during any special session of the legislature in which the subject of the election is designated in the governor's proclamation for that special session. The election may be held on any date, and notice of the election shall be given for the period and in the manner required for amending this constitution. The election shall be held in each county in the manner provided by law for other statewide elections.
(d) A proposition must clearly describe the amount and purpose for which debt is to be created and must describe the source of payment for the debt. Except as provided by law under Subsection (f) of this section, the amount of debt stated in the proposition may not be exceeded and may not be renewed after the debt has been created unless the right to exceed or renew is stated in the proposition.
(e) The legislature may enact all laws necessary or appropriate to implement the authority granted by a proposition that is approved as provided by Subsection (b) of this section. A law enacted in anticipation of the election is valid if, by its terms, it is subject to the approval of the related proposition.
(f) State debt that is created or issued as provided by Subsection (b) of this section may be refunded in the manner and amount and subject to the conditions provided by law.
(g) State debt that is created or issued as provided by Subsections (b) through (f) of this section and that is approved by the attorney general in accordance with applicable law is incontestable for any reason.
(Subsec. (a) amended and (b)-(g) added Nov. 5, 1991.)
Sec. 49a. FINANCIAL STATEMENT AND ESTIMATE BY COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS; LIMITATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. (a) It shall be the duty of the Comptroller of Public Accounts in advance of each Regular Session of the Legislature to prepare and submit to the Governor and to the Legislature upon its convening a statement under oath showing fully the financial condition of the State Treasury at the close of the last fiscal period and an estimate of the probable receipts and disbursements for the then current fiscal year. There shall also be contained in said statement an itemized estimate of the anticipated revenue based on the laws then in effect that will be received by and for the State from all sources showing the fund accounts to be credited during the succeeding biennium and said statement shall contain such other information as may be required by law. Supplemental statements shall be submitted at any Special Session of the Legislature and at such other times as may be necessary to show probable changes.
(b) Except in the case of emergency and imperative public necessity and with a four-fifths vote of the total membership of each House, no appropriation in excess of the cash and anticipated revenue of the funds from which such appropriation is to be made shall be valid. No bill containing an appropriation shall be considered as passed or be sent to the Governor for consideration until and unless the Comptroller of Public Accounts endorses his certificate thereon showing that the amount appropriated is within the amount estimated to be available in the affected funds. When the Comptroller finds an appropriation bill exceeds the estimated revenue he shall endorse such finding thereon and return to the House in which same originated. Such information shall be immediately made known to both the House of Representatives and the Senate and the necessary steps shall be taken to bring such appropriation to within the revenue, either by providing additional revenue or reducing the appropriation.
(Added Nov. 3, 1942; amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 49a: See Appendix, Note 1.)