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Constitutions of Texas 1824-1876

Article III: Legislative Department

ARTICLE III.beginning page of Article III


SECTION I. Every male person who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, and who shall be (or who shall have declared his intentions 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 Texas, and shall have resided in the 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 electors 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 elector shall be permitted to vote any where 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.

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

SECTION III. The legislative power of the 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 Texas." The style of the laws shall be, "Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas."

SECTION IV. 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 general election; and the sessions of the Legislature shall be annual, at such times as shall be prescribed by law.

SECTION V. No person shall be a Representative, unless he be a citizen of the United States, and shall have been a citizen of this State two years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a citizen of the county, city, or town from which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, at the time of his election.

SECTION VI. All elections for State, district and county officers shall be held at the county seats of the several counties, until otherwise provided by law; and the polls shall be opened for four days, from 8 o'clock, A. M., until 4 o'clock, P. M., of each day.

SECTION VII. The House of Representatives shall consist of ninety members, and no more.

SECTION VIII. The Senators shall be chosen by the qualified electors, hereafter, for the term of six years. Those elected at the first election shall be divided by lot into three 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; and the third class, at the expiration of six years; so that one-third thereof shall be chosen biennially thereafter.

SECTION IX. Such mode of classifying new additional sections shall be observed, as will, as nearly as possible, preserve an equality of number in each class.

SECTION X. The Senate shall consist of thirty-three Senators, and no more.

SECTION XI. A new apportionment for Representative and Senatorial districts shall be made by the first Legislature in session after the official publication of the United States census, every ten years.

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

SECTION XIII. No person shall be a Senator, unless he be a citizen of the United States, and shall have been a citizen of this State three years next preceding the election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district for which he shall be chosen, and have attained the age of twenty-five years.

SECTION XIV. No person shall be eligible to any office, State, county or municipal, who is not a registered voter in this State.

SECTION XV. The House of Representatives, when assembled, shall elect a Speaker and its other officers; and the Senate shall choose a President for the time being, and its other officers. Each House shall judge of the elections and qualifications 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.

SECTION XVI. 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.

SECTION XVII. 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, or any question, shall, at the desire of any three members present, be entered upon the journals.

SECTION XVIII. Any member of either House shall have liberty to dissent from, or protest against any act or resolution which he may think injurious to the public, or an individual, and have the reason for dissent entered on the journals.

SECTION XIX. 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; and should the Governor fail to issue a writ of election to fill such vacancy, the returning officer for the district or county shall be authorized to order an election for that purpose.

SECTION XX. 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-five miles, such member may reside from the place at which the Legislature is convened.

SECTION XXI. Each House, during the session, may punish by imprisonment 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.

SECTION XXII. The doors of each House shall be kept open, except upon a call of either House, and when there is an executive session of the Senate.

SECTION XXIII. 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.

SECTION XXIV. 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: provided, that the final vote, on all bills or joint resolutions appropriating money or lands for any purpose, shall be by the yeas and nays.

SECTION XXV. The Legislature shall not authorize, by private or special law, the sale or conveyance of any real estate belonging to any person, or vacate or alter any road laid out by legal authority, or any street in any city of village, or in any recorded town plat, but shall provide for the same by general laws.

SECTION XXVI. 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.

SECTION XXVII. The Legislature shall not authorize any lottery, and shall prohibit the sale of lottery tickets.

SECTION XXVIII. 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 session at which such increase shall be made.

SECTION XXIX. No Senator or Representative shall, while a member of the Legislature, be eligible to 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; except it be in such cases as are herein provided. The President, for the time being, of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be elected from their respective bodies.

SECTION XXX. 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 offices of militia to which there is attached no annual salary, the office of postmaster, notary public, and the office of justice of the peace, shall not be deemed lucrative; and that one person may hold two or more county office, if so provided by the Legislature.

SECTION XXXI. 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 collection, and for all public money with which he may have been entrusted.

SECTION XXXII. It shall be the duty of the Legislature immediately to expel from the body any member who shall receive or offer a bribe, or suffer his vote influenced by promise of preferment or reward; and every person so offending, and so expelled shall thereafter be disabled from holding any office of honor, trust or profit in this State.

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

SECTION XXXIV. The whole number of Senators shall, at the next session after the several periods of making the enumeration, be fixed by the Legislature, and apportioned among the several districts to be established by law, according to the number of qualified electors, and shall never be less than nineteen, nor more than thirty.

SECTION XXXV. The members of the Legislature shall, at their first session hereafter, receive from the treasury of the State as their compensation, eight dollars for each day they shall be in attendance, and eight dollars for each twenty-five miles in traveling to and from the seat of government. The above rates of compensation shall remain till changed by law.

SECTION XXXVI. The Legislature shall proceed, as early as practicable, to elect Senators to represent this State in the Senate of the United States; and also, provide for future elections of Representatives to the Congress of the United States; and on the second Tuesday, after the first assembling of the Legislature after the ratification of this Constitution, the Legislature shall proceed to ratify the 13th and 14th Articles of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

SECTION XXXVII. 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 acceptance of this Constitution by the Congress of the United States, 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 votes 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, 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 votes 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.

SECTION XXXVIII. The first Legislature shall pass such laws as will authorize the clerks of the district court and the justices of the peace of the several counties to issue executions, after the adjournment of each term of their respective courts, against the plaintiff or defendant, for all costs created by them in any suit or suits therein.

SECTION XXXIX. Until otherwise provided by law, the Senatorial and Representative Districts shall be composed of the following counties:

1st. Chambers, Jefferson, Orange, Liberty, Hardin, Newton, Jasper, Tyler and Polk.
2nd. Trinity, Angelina, San Augustine, Sabine, Nacogdoches and Shelby.
3rd. Houston and Cherokee.
4th. Anderson, Henderson and Van Zandt.
5th. Rusk and Panola.
6th. Smith and Upshur.
7th. Harrison.
8th. Marion, Davis and Bowie.
9th. Titus and Red River.
10th. Wood, Hopkins and Hunt.
11th. Lamar and Fannin.
12th. Galveston, Brazoria and Matagorda.
13th. Wharton, Fort Bend and Austin.
14th. Harris and Montgomery.
15th. Walker, Grimes and Madison.
16th. Washington.
17th. Burleson, Brazos and Milam.
18th. Robertson, Leon and Freestone.
19th. McLennan, Limestone and Falls.
20th. Hill, Navarro, Ellis and Kaufman.
21st. Dallas, Collin and Tarrant.
22d. Grayson, Cook, Denton, Wise, Montague, Jack, Clay, Young, Wichita, Throckmorton, Baylor, Wilbarger, Haskel, Knox and Hardiman.
23d. Bosque, Johnson, Hood, Parker, Erath, Palo Pinto, Eastland, Stephens, Callahan, Jones, Shackelford and Taylor.
24th. Calhoun, Jackson, Victoria, Refugio, San Patricio, Bee, Goliad and DeWitt.
25th. Lavaca and Colorado.
26th. Fayette and Bastrop.
27th. Gonzales, Guadalupe and Caldwell.
28th. Hays, Travis, Williamson, Bell, Coryell, Lampasas, San Saba, Hamilton, Comanche, Brown, Coleman, Concho and McCulloch.
29th. Bexar, Wilson, Comal, Kendall, Blanco, Burnett, Llano, Mason, Gillespie, Kerr, Bandera, Edwards, Kimball and Menard.
30th. Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Nueces, Duval, Zapata, Live Oak, McMullen, Encinal, Lasalle, Webb, Dimmitt, Maverick, Zavalla, Frio, Atascosa, Karnes, Kinney, Uvalde, Medina, Presidio and El Paso.

SECTION XL. The Senators and Representatives shall apportioned among the several Senatorial Representative Districts as follows, to wit:

1st. One. Three.
2d. One. Three.
3d. One. Three.
4th. One. Three.
5th. One. Three.
6th. One. Three.
7th. One. Two.
8th. One. Three.
9th. One. Three.
10th. One. Three.
11th. One. Three.
12th. One. Three.
13th. One. Three.
14th. One. Three.
15th. One. Three.
16th. One. Two.
17th. One. Three.
18th. One. Three.
19th. One. Three.
20th. One. Three.
21st. One. Three.
22d. One. Three.
23d. One. Three.
24th. One. Three.
25th. One. Three.
26th. One. Three.
27th. One. Three.
28th. One. Three.
29th. One. Four.
30th. One. Three.

SECTION XLI. In the several Senatorial and Representative Districts, composed of more counties than one, the Chief Justice of the following named counties shall receive the returns, and give certificates of election to the persons respectively receiving the highest number of votes, to wit:

1st. DISTRICT.-- Chief Justice of Liberty County.
2d. " " " " Nacogdoches County.
3d. " " " " Cherokee County.
4th. " " " " Anderson County.
5th. " " " " Rusk County.
6th. " " " " Smith County.
7th. " " " " Harrison County.
8th. " " " " Marion County.
9th. " " " " Red River County.
10th. " " " " Hopkins County.
11th. " " " " Lamar County.
12th. " " " " Galveston County.
13th. " " " " Fort Bend County.
14th. " " " " Harris County.
15th. " " " " Grimes County.
16th. " " " " Washington County.
17th. " " " " Burleson County.
18th. " " " " Robertson County.
19th. " " " " McLennan County.
20th. " " " " Navarro County.
21st. " " " " Dallas County.
22d. " " " " Grayson County.
23d. " " " " Bosque County.
24th. " " " " Victoria County.
25th. " " " " Colorado County.
26th. " " " " Fayette County.
27th. " " " " Gonzales County.
28th. " " " " Travis County.
29th. " " " " Bexar County.
30th. " " " " Nueces County.

(Transcription, errors in original preserved)

Article III, Sections I-III

Article III, Sections I-III

Article IV, Sections III-XII

Article IV, Sections III-XII

Article III, Sections XIII-XIX

Article III, Sections XIII-XIX

Article III, Sections XX-XXVI

Article III, Sections XX-XXVI

Article III, Sections XXVI-XXXII

Article III, Sections XXVI-XXXII

Article III, Sections XXII-XXVII

Article III, Sections XXII-XXVII

Article III, Sections XXXVII-XXXIX

Article III, Sections XXXVII-XXXIX

Article III, Sections XXXIX-XL

Article III, Sections XXXIX-XL

Article III, Sections XL-XLI

Article III, Sections XL-XLI

Article III, Section XLI; Article IV, Sections I-IV

Article III, Section XLI; Article IV, Sections I-IV