Texas government

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Amending the Texas Constitution

In the 483 amendments to the constitution, it suggests that the amending process occupy considerable legislative time, and it is increasingly relied upon in getting something done in the government. In Texas, the amendments to the constitution are normally proposed by an absolute two-thirds majority vote in both the houses of the legislature and ratified by a simple majority vote in the statewide election. The amendment can be proposed in the regular sessions of the Texas legislature or special sessions. A joint resolution that proposes the amendment to the constitution does not become effective until the approval by the Texas voters in the general election (May 2011). A legislature can call for an election for the consideration of the proposed amendment on any date provided the election authorities do have enough time to providing notice to voters and printing the ballots. The legislature shall specify the date of the election.  The secretary of state needs to send a full and complete copy of proposed amendments to each county clerk who will post the same in public place in the courthouse at lead thirty days before the election on the amendment. If the voters tend to reject the amendment proposal, the legislature will resubmit the amendment proposal.

Constitution reform in the 1970s and why it failed

The 1970s was the decade of legislative reforms. From 1971 to 1974, there was a major effort to revising the constitution as the legislature convened itself as the constitutional convention. The pressure for a fundamental overhaul and restructuring of the constitution started in the earnest in 1971 which ended in total defeat in the special election of November 1975. In 1971, the 62nd Legislature passed a resolution asking for the establishment of the constitutional revision commission (May 2011). The commission aimed at investigating the need for constitutional revision and making a recommendation to the legislature by November 1973. In the effort to revise the constitution, some of the areas of discussion provoked considerable contention that resulted in a compromise.

The attempt by some commission members to allow the urban areas to cut through multiple conflicting political jurisdictions by increasing the city government’s authority were rounded by the conservatives who seek to preserve the county government in the largest metropolitan areas in the state. The advocates seek to allow the urban areas to consolidate overlapping city and the county jurisdiction to one metroplan type of government. However, the opponents were worried about providing too much power to a single metro-wide government. In the 64th legislature meeting in 1975, it approved submitting eight amendments to voters. In an election in November 1975, all the eight amendments were defeated as 250 of Texas counties did not pass a single proposition (May 2011).  The revision effort was not helped by Governor Briscoe’s warning that the adoption would lead to passage of the state income tax, overly powerful legislature, adoption of Missouri plan form of judicial selection, and the increased cost of state government. After the defeat, it was declared that the constitutional reform in Texas was dead in the foreseeable future. In 1975, it was the last time that the Texans voted on approving of a new constitution.

Constitution that has broad language

I believe that it is good to have a constitution that has a broad language that offers the government flexibility of handling a diverse set of the situation as they arise. A constitution with a broad language and one that offers flexibility tends to be an excellent establishment of good effective, efficient, and energetic government. It is important to have a broad and flexible constitution so that to provide the political leaders with the ability to deal with the changing situations over the course of time. A constitution that has a broad language tends to provide the government with the flexibility of adapting to the changing times. When a constitution is written with a broad language, it tends to allow for a changing interpretation. When considering the broad language approach, flexibility is the constitution, and those does not require the outside social changes to justify the new interpretation. The broad and flexible design is a good approach to the constitution as it tends to allow for the constitution to survive as long as it can without being influenced by the changes occurring in the society.

Reference

May, J (2011). The Texas state constitution. Oxford University Press



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