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Constitutions of Texas 1824-1876

Article VII: General Provisions

ARTICLE VII.beginning page of Article VII


SECTION 1. Members of the Legislature, and all officers, before they enter upon the duties of their offices, shall take the following oath or affirmation: "I, (A. B.,) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as --------, according to the best of my skill and ability, agreeably to the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that, since the adoption of this Constitution by the Congress of the United States, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons, within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, or aided, advised or assisted, any person thus offending--so help me God."

SEC. 2. Treason against this State shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies--giving them aid and comfort; and no person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or his own confession in open Court.

SEC. 3. Every person shall be disqualified from holding any office or trust or profit in this State, who shall have been convicted of having given or offered a bribe to procure his election or appointment.

SEC. 4. Laws shall be made to exclude from office, serving on juries, and from the right of suffrage, those who shall hereafter be convicted of bribery, perjury, forgery, or other high crimes. The privilege of free suffrage shall be supported by laws regulating elections, and prohibiting, under adequate penalties all undue influence thereon from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper practice.

SEC. 5. Any citizen of this State who shall, after the adoption of this Constitution, fight a duel with deadly weapons, either within the State or out of it, or who shall act as second, or knowingly aid and assist in any manner, those thus offending, shall be deprived of holding any office of trust or profit under this State.

SEC. 6. In all elections by the people, the vote shall be by ballot, until the Legislature shall otherwise direct; and 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. 7. The Legislature shall provide by law for the compensation of all officers, servants, agents, and public contractors, not provided for by this Constitution, and shall not grant extra compensation to any officer, agent, servant, or public contractor, 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, where the same shall not have been provided for by pre-existing law: Provided, that nothing in this section shall be so construed as to effect the claims of persons against the Republic of Texas, theretofore existing.

SEC. 8. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in pursuance of special appropriations made by law; nor shall any appropriation of money be made for a longer team than two years, except for purposes of education; and no appropriation for private or individual purposes, or for purposes of internal improvement, shall be made, without the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses of the Legislature. A regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published annually in such manner as shall be prescribed by law. And in no case shall the Legislature have the power to issue "Treasury Warrants, " "Treasury Notes," or paper of any description, intended to circulate as money.

SEC. 9. All civil officers shall reside within the State; and all district or county officers, within their districts or counties; and shall keep their offices at such places therein as may be required by law.

SEC. 10. The duration of all offices, not fixed by this Constitution, shall never exceed four years, except the office of Superintendent of the Lunatic Asylum, or other Asylums that may be established by law, who shall continue in office during good behavior; provided, that in all cases, where the Governor has the authority under this Constitution, or laws made in pursuance thereof, to appoint to office, he shall also have power to remove from the same, for malfeasance in office, neglect of duty, or other good cause; provided, that a statement of the cause shall, at the time of removal, be furnished to the party interested, and a copy thereof shall also be recorded in the office of the Secretary of State.

SEC. 11. Absence on the business of this State, or of the United States, shall not forfeit a residence once obtained, so as to deprive any one of the right of suffrage, or of being elected or appointed to any office, under the exceptions contained in this Constitution.

SEC. 12. The Legislature shall have power to provide for deductions from the salaries of public officers, who may neglect the performance of any duty that may be assigned them by law.

SEC. 13. No member of Congress, nor person holding or exercising any office of profit or trust under the United States, or either of them, or under any foreign power, shall be eligible as a member of the Legislature, or hold or exercise any office of profit or trust under this State.

SEC. 14. The Legislature shall provide for a change of venue in civil and criminal cases, and for the creation of a Penitentiary at as early a day as practicable.

SEC. 15. It shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary and proper, to decide differences by arbitration, when the parties shall elect that mode of trial.

SEC. 16. Within five years after the adoption of this Constitution, the laws, civil and criminal, shall be revised, digested, arranged and published, in such manner as the Legislature shall direct; and a like revision, digest and publication, shall be made every ten years thereafter.

SEC. 17. No lottery shall be authorized by this State; and the buying and selling of lottery tickets within this State is prohibited.

SEC. 18. No divorce shall be granted by the Legislature.

SEC. 19. All property, both real and personal, of the wife, owned or claimed by her before marriage, and that acquired afterwards by gift, devise, or descent, shall be her separate property; and laws shall be passed more clearly defining the rights of the wife, in relation as well to her separate property as that held in common with her husband. Laws shall also be passed providing for the registration of the wife's separate property.

SEC. 20. The rights of property and of action, which have been acquired under the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Texas, shall not be divested; nor shall any rights or actions, which have been divested, barred, or declared null and void, by the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Texas, be reinvested, revived, or reinstated, by this Constitution; but the same shall remain precisely in the situation which they were before the adoption of this Constitution.

SEC. 21. All claims, locations, surveys, grants and titles to land, which are declared null and void by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, are, and the same shall remain forever null and void.

SEC. 22. The Legislature shall have power to protect by law from forced sale, a certain portion of the property of all heads of families. The homestead of a family not to exceed two hundred acres of land (not included in a town or city) or any town or city lot or lots, in value not to exceed two thousand dollars, shall not be subject to forced sale for any debts hereafter contracted, nor shall the owner, if a married man, be at liberty to alienate the same, unless by the consent of the wife, in such manner as the Legislature may hereafter point out.

SEC. 23. The Legislature shall provide in what cases officers shall continue to perform the duties of their offices, until their successors shall be duly qualified.

SEC. 24. Every law enacted by the Legislature shall embrace but one object, and that shall be expressed in the title.

SEC. 25. No law shall be revised or amended by reference to its title; but in such case the act revised, or section amended, shall be re-enacted and published at length.

SEC. 26. No person shall hold, or exercise at the same time, more than one civil office of emolument, except that of Justice of the Peace.

SEC. 27. Taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the State. All property in this State shall be taxed in proportion to its value, to be ascertained as directed by law, except such property as two-thirds of both Houses of the Legislature may think proper to exempt from taxation. The Legislature shall have powers to lay an income tax, and to tax all persons pursuing any occupation, trade or profession: Provided that the term occupation shall not be construed to apply to pursuits, either agricultural or mechanical.

SEC. 28. The Legislature shall have power to provide by law for exemption from taxation, two hundred and fifty dollars' worth of the household furniture or other property belonging to each family in this State.

SEC. 29. The Assessor and Collector of Taxes shall be appointed in such manner, and under such regulations, as the Legislature may direct.

SEC. 30. No corporate body shall hereafter be created, renewed, or extended with banking or discounting privileges.

SEC. 31. No private corporation shall be created, unless the bill creating it shall be passed by two-thirds of both Houses of the Legislature; and two-thirds of the Legislature shall have power to revoke and repeal all private corporations, by making compensation for the franchise. And the State shall not be part owner of the stock, or property, belonging to any corporation.

SEC. 32. The Legislature shall prohibit, by law, individuals from issuing bills, checks, promissory notes, or other paper to circulate as money.

SEC. 33. The aggregate amount of debts hereafter contracted by the Legislature, shall never exceed the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, except in case of war, to repel invasion, or suppress insurrections. And in no case shall any amount be borrowed, except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses of the Legislature.

SEC. 34. The Legislature may, from time to time, establish new countries for the convenience of the inhabitants of such new county or counties: Provided that no new county shall be established which shall reduce the county of counties, on either of them, from which it shall be taken, to a less area than nine hundred square miles, unless by consent of two-thirds of the Legislature, nor shall any county be organized of less contents: Provided further, that all counties heretofore created are hereby declared to be legally constituted counties. Every new county, as to the right of suffrage and representation, shall be considered as part of the county or counties from which it was taken, until the next apportionment of representation thereafter: Provided, also, that no new county shall be laid off, when less than one hundred and twenty qualified jurors are at the time resident therein.

SEC. 35. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in the house, or within the enclosure of any individual without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.

SEC. 36. A well regulated system of internal improvements is calculated to develop the resources of the State, and promote the happiness and prosperity of her citizens. Therefore, the Legislature shall have power, and it shall be its duty to encourage the same; and the Legislature shall have power to guarantee the bonds of railroad companies, to any amount not exceeding, in any case, the sum of fifteen thousand dollars per mile; provided that in no one case shall the State guarantee the payment of the bonds of any railroad company, until such company shall have previously graded and prepared at least twenty-five miles of its roadway, ready to lay the iron rails thereon, and so on continuously, on each additional section of ten miles, so graded and prepared, after the preceding action has been finished and in operation, until the whole road shall be completed; further provided, that the Legislature shall require that the company, or companies, which receive aid from the State, shall use the same exclusively for the purchase of iron rails, fastenings and rolling stock, and placing the same upon the road, and upon the failure to do so, shall forfeit all their rights under this provision, together with their property and franchises; and it shall be declared a felony, for any officer, or agent, of any railroad company to misappropriate any funds, granted under the provisions of this section, or any other funds or property of the company. The State shall always be secured for all bonds guaranteed for any railroad company, by a first lien, or mortgage, upon the road, rolling stock, depots and franchises of the corporation, whose bonds may be guaranteed. The Legislature shall provide, by law, that the managers of railroad companies shall make reports periodically, of their acts, and the condition of the corporation affairs, which shall be officially published for public information. And in no case shall the State guarantee the bonds of railroad companies, as herein provided, except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses of the Legislature; provided the Legislature shall have no power, directly or indirectly, to release any railroad company from the payment in specie, of the principal or interest of the obligations or debts due to the school fund or to the State. An act entitled "An act, supplemental and amendatory of an act, to regulate railroad companies, approved February 7th, 1853," approved 21st December, 1857, be and the same is hereby repealed, and of no further effect; and the franchise or corporate privileges of any incorporated company shall not be sold under judgments, except for the foreclosure of mortgages or liens, created in the manner prescribed by law.

The Comptroller of the State is authorized to take possession of any railroad, in default of paying any bonds which may be guaranteed by the State, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law.


SEC. 37. The Legislature, by a vote of three-fourths of all the members of each House, with the approval of the Governor, shall have power to call a convention of the people, for the purpose of altering, amending or reforming the Constitution of this State; the manner of electing delegates to the Convention, the time and place of assembling them, to be regulated by law.

SEC. 38. The Legislature, at any biennial session, by a vote of two-thirds of all the members of each House, may propose amendments to the Constitution, to be voted upon by persons legally qualified to vote for members of the House of Representatives of the State; which proposed amendments shall be duly published in the public prints of this State, at least three months before the next general election for representatives to the Legislature, for the consideration of the people; and it shall be the duty of the several returning officers, at said general election, to open a poll for, and make returns to the Secretary of State, of the number of legal votes cast at said election, for and against said amendment, and if more than one be proposed, then the number of legal votes cast for and against each of them; and if it shall appear, from said return, that a majority of the votes cast upon said proposed amendment, or amendments, have been cast in favor of the same, and two-thirds of each House of the Legislature, a the next regular session thereafter, shall ratify said proposed amendment, or amendments so voted upon by the people, the same shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as parts of the Constitution of the State of Texas; provided that the said proposed amendments shall, at each of said sessions, have been read on three several days in each House of the Legislature, and the vote thereon shall have been taken by yeas and nays; and, provided further, that the rule in the above proviso shall never be suspended by either of said Houses.

SEC. 39. That the State of Texas hereby releases to the owner of the soil all mines and mineral substances, that may be on the same, subject to such uniform rate of taxation, as the Legislature may impose. All islands along the Gulf coast of the State, not now patented, or appropriated by locations under valid fund certificates, are reserved from location or appropriated (appropriation) in any other manner by private individuals than as the Legislature may direct.

(Transcription, errors in original preserved)

Article VII, Sections 1-4

Article VII, Sections 1-4

Article VII, Sections 4-9

Article VII, Sections 4-9

Article VII, Sections 10-19

Article VII, Sections 10-19

Article VII, Sections 19-27

Article VII, Sections 19-27

Article VII, Sections 28-36

Article VII, Sections 28-36

Article VII, Section 36

Article VII, Section 36

Article VII, Sections 36-39

Article VII, Sections 36-39

Article VII, Section 39; Article VIII, Sections 1-2; Article IX, Sections1-4

Article VII, Section 39; Article VIII, Sections 1-2; Article IX, Sections1-4