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Constitution of the State of West Texas (1868)

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ARTICLE III.

LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT.


SEC. 1. Every male person who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, and who shall be (or who shall have declared his intention to become) a citizen of the United States, or who is, at the time of the acceptance of this Constitution by the Congress of the United States, a citizen of West Texas, and shall have resided in this State one year next preceding an election, and the last six months within the district or county, in which he offers to vote, and is duly registered, (Indians not taxed, excepted,) shall be deemed a qualified elector; and should such qualified elector happen to be in any other county, situated in the district in which he resides, at the time of an election, he shall be permitted to vote for any district officer, provided that the qualified electors shall be permitted to vote anywhere in the State for State officers, and provided, further, that no soldier, seaman, or marine in the Army or Navy of the United States, shall be entitled to vote at any election created by this Constitution; provided, further, that the residence within the limits of the old State of Texas, of persons who, within six months from the acceptance of this Constitution by the United States Congress, may remove into this State, shall be counted in estimating the residence required previous to voting.

SEC. 2. Electors in all cases shall be privileged from arrest during their attendance at elections, and in going to and returning from the same, except in cases of treason, felony, or breach of the peace.

SEC. 3. The Legislative powers of this State shall be vested in two distinct branches; the one to be styled the Senate, and the other the House of Representatives, and both together the "Legislature of the State of West Texas." The style of all the laws shall be, "Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of West Texas."

SEC. 4. The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen by the qualified electors, and their term of office shall be two years from the day of the general election; and the sessions of the Legislature shall be annual, at such times as shall be prescribed by law.

SEC. 5. No person shall be a Representative, unless he be a citizen of the United States, a resident of the county or district from which he may be chosen, for the last year previous to his election, and a qualified elector at the time of his election.

SEC. 6. All elections by the people shall be held at such time and places, in the several counties, cities or towns, as are now, or may hereafter be designated by law.

SEC. 7. The Senators shall be chosen by the qualified electors for the term of four years; and shall be divided by lot into two classes, as nearly equal as can be. The seats of Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first two years, and of the second class at the expiration of four years; so that one-half thereof shall be chosen biennially thereafter.

SEC. 8. Such mode of classifying new additional Senators shall be observed, as will as nearly as possible preserve an equality of number in each class.

SEC. 9. When a Senatorial district shall be composed of two or more counties, it shall not be separated by any county belonging to another district.

SEC. 10. No person shall be a Senator, unless at the time of his election he shall be a citizen of the United States; shall have attained the age of twenty-five years; shall have resided in the district from which he may be chosen for one year immediately preceding his election, and shall be a qualified voter of the State.

SEC. 11. The House of Representatives, when assembled, shall elect a Speaker and its other officers. In case of absence or inability to serve, for any cause whatever, of the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a President of the Senate, for the time being, or a Speaker pro tem. of the House, may be chosen by their respective bodies. Each House shall judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members, but contested elections shall be determined in such manner as shall be directed by law: 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. 12. 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 offence.

SEC. 13. Each House shall keep a journal of its own proceedings, and publish the same; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House, on any question, shall, at the desire of any three members present, be entered on the journals.

SEC. 14. When vacancies happen in either House, the Governor, or the person exercising the power of the Governor, shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

SEC. 15. Senators and Representatives shall, in all cases, except in 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, allowing one day for every twenty miles, such member may reside from the place at which the Legislature is convened.

SEC. 16. Each House may punish, by imprisonment, during the session, 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. 17. Neither House shall hold secret sessions, except the Senate, when acting on appointments.

SEC. 18. Neither House shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days; nor to any other place than that in which they may be sitting, without the concurrence of both Houses.

SEC. 19. Bills may originate in either House, and be amended, altered, or rejected by the other; but no bill shall have the force of a law, until on three several days it be read in each House, and free discussion be allowed thereon, unless, in case of great emergency, four-fifths of the House in which the bill shall be pending may deem it expedient to dispense with this rule; and every bill, having passed both Houses, shall be signed by the Speaker and President of their respective Houses.

SEC. 20. After a bill or resolution has been rejected by either branch of the Legislature, no bill or resolution containing the same substance shall be passed into a law during the same session.

SEC. 21. Each member of the Legislature shall receive from the public Treasury a compensation for his services, which may be increased or diminished by law; but no increase of compensation shall take effect during the Legislature at which such increase shall be made.

SEC. 22. No Senator or Representative shall, during the term for which he may be elected, be eligible to any civil office of profit under this State, which shall have been created, or the emolument of which may have been increased during such term: the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be elected from their respective bodies.

SEC. 23. No Judge of any Court of law or equity, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Clerk of any court of record, Sheriff, or Collector, or any person holding a lucrative office under the United States, or this State, or any foreign government, shall be eligible to the Legislature; nor shall at the same time hold or exercise any two offices, agencies or appointments of trust or profit, under this State: provided, that officers of militia, to which there is attached no annual salary, the office of Notary Public, or the office of Justice of the Peace, shall not be deemed lucrative; and that one person may hold two or more county offices, if it be so provided by the Legislature.

SEC. 24. 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, and for all public moneys with which he may have been entrusted.

SEC. 25. Elections for Senators and Representatives shall be general throughout the State, and shall be regulated by law.

SEC. 26. The Legislature shall cause an enumeration to be made every ten years, commencing on the sixth day of February, 1875, of all the inhabitants (including Indians taxed) of the State, designating particularly the number of registered voters, and the age, sex and color of all, (herein following the classification of the United States census,) and the whole number of Representatives shall, at the next session after the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the Legislature, and apportioned among the several counties, according to the number of population in each. The number of Representatives shall at present be fixed at twenty-six, and when the population of the State may exceed the number of two hundred and sixty thousand persons, then one additional Representative for each ten thousand of such excess of population shall be added; Provided, that the whole number of Representatives shall never exceed forty-two.

SEC. 27. Until changed by law, the apportionment of Senators and Representatives shall remain as fixed by the Ordinance attached to this Constitution.

SEC. 28. The number of Senators shall at present be fixed at thirteen; and when the population of the State may exceed the number of two hundred and sixty thousand persons then one additional senator for each twenty thousand of such excess of Senators shall never exceed twenty-one.

SEC. 29. The first session of the Legislature, after the acceptance of this Constitution by the Congress of the United States, shall be held at the city of San Antonio, Bexar county, and thereafter until the year 1871, after which year the seat of government shall be permanently located by a vote of the people.

SEC. 30. The members of the Legislature shall receive from the Treasury of the State, as their compensation, (until changed by law,) the sum of five hundred dollars each, annually, and the members acting as President of the Senate or Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall receive double this compensation. The members shall also receive (until changed by law) the sum of eight dollars for each twenty-five miles traveled in going to and returning from the seat of government.

SEC. 31. In order to settle permanently the seat of government, an election shall be holden throughout the State at the usual places of holding elections, at the first general election after the year (1871) one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, which shall be conducted according to law, at which time the people shall vote for such place as they may see proper for the seat of government; the returns of said election to be transmitted to the Governor with the other returns of that election. If either place voted for shall have a majority of the whole number of votes cast, then the same shall be the permanent seat of government. But in case neither place voted for shall have the majority of the whole number of votes given in, then the Governor shall issue his proclamation for an election to be holden in the same manner at the next following general election, between the two places having the highest number of vote at the first election. This election shall be conducted in the same manner as at the first, and the returns made to the Governor, and the place having the highest number of votes shall be the permanent seat of government.