POL 215 Constitution and Systems of the State


Constitution and Systems of the State

Constitution and Systems of the State

The state of Texas has one of the largest constitutions in the United States, perhaps because it is also one of the biggest states in America. The main components set up by the state of Texas’s Constitution are the Bill of Rights, Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches, education, and suffrage. This essay will dissect the main components and how they are set up by the Texas Constitution, the branch of government that I find most persuasive and evidence to support my choice as well as the most important feature of this States Bill of Rights, in my opinion.

How are the main components set up by your state’s government?

The Texas Constitution consists of a preamble and 17 articles that are split and describe the structures and functions of Texas’s government. The main components of this state’s constitution are located at the very beginning, perhaps because of their importance. The Bill of Rights consists of 34 sections; most of its article provisions concern specific fundamental limitations of the power of the States government and individual rights granted to citizens that cannot be ignored under any circumstances. The legislative department consists of 67 sections and vest its power of the state in the “Legislature of the State of Texas” and establishes that the legislature consists of the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives. The executive department consists of 26 sections and describes the powers and duties of the state’s administrative officials. The judicial department, with 31 sections, describes the composition, powers, and jurisdiction of the Texas Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the District, County, and Commissioners Courts and the Justice of the Peace Courts. Suffrage only has six sections and denies voting rights to minors, felons, and people who are deemed mentally incompetent by a court. Lastly is education, which has 19 articles, it establishes provisions for public schools, asylums, and universities. It also discusses the creation and maintenance of the Permanent University Fund. Although these components are deemed the most important, they only make up a small fragment of Texas extensive constitution.

Which branch of your state government seems the more potent, on paper? What evidence do you use for your choice?

On paper, the Texas legislature is the most powerful of the three top branches of government in the states constitution. None of the three branches are particularly strong. However, the legislature has more sections than the executive and judicial branches. Its authority is more substantial than the other two branches not only because of its power of the purse to control and direct the activities of the States government and the high constitutional connections between it and the Lieutenant Governor of Texas but because of Texas’s many executives. “Under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the legislature, as representative of the people of Texas, exercises plenary powers, limited only by the Texas and United States constitutions and valid federal laws” (Texas Legislature, 2010). Even though the legislature is subject to checks and balances in the tripartite system, it may exercise the state’s inherent police power to promote and safeguard public safety, morals, health and welfare. The legislature has more responsibilities than the other two branches which are evident in the extensive and detailed 67 sections dedicated to the legislative department in the Texas constitution. The basic framework of the legislature of Texas has existed and been modified since 1845, longer than the other two branches. On paper, this branch of government is leading the others without question.

Does the state constitution contain a Bill of Rights? If so, what appears to be the most important feature?

“Article 1 of the Texas state constitution is entitled the “Bill of Rights and consists of 34 sections” (Ballotpedia, 2017). It originally contained 29 articles, but five sections have been added since 1876. It declares these rights to establish and recognize the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government in the state of Texas. The rights vary from freedom and sovereignty of the state to access to public beaches, however, in my opinion, freedom of worship is the most important. I picked this feature not only because of my spirituality but also because this constitution mentions religious rights several times. Along with freedom of worship, which grants all men the natural and indefeasible right to worship God, there is also the religious test right which states that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office. Also, there’s the witness disqualified by religious beliefs right that states no person shall be disqualified to give evidence in any court based on their religious opinions. Religion is a topic that is mentioned more times than anything else in the Texas constitution, freedom of worship being the most detailed section, a great testament to Texas commitment to a community under God. Being allowed that freedom allows Texas to be a very diverse community and as a resident, I love being able to experience different cultures.

The Texas Constitution has been amended 456 times since it was initially adopted 1876. These changes are necessary due to Texas’s growing population as well as the demand to update all outdated provisions written during a rural, frontier era. The legislative department usually proposes a dozen or more new amendments each time its members meet. Although governors and legislatures come and go, changes are added to the constitution every year. Most of those amendments are usually approved, so the constitution continues to grow longer and more detailed. Like all state constitutions, it describes how the government operates as well as the rights its citizens are entitled to. In fact, the Bill of Rights in the Texas Constitution is the most amended section mainly because of the growing diverse population and the demand to include all cultures in those set of rights. I have lived in Texas 12 years and have seen the government make many changes, some good and some bad. But, our government always keeps us informed of any changes and why those changes are taking place. None the less, this state is continuing to guarantee life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to its citizens, even at the expense of always changing its constitution.

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