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Constitution of Texas (1845) (Joining the U.S.)

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ARTICLE III.

Legislative Department.


SEC. 1. Every free male person who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, and who shall be a citizen of the United States, or who is, at the time of the adoption of this constitution by the Congress of the United States, a citizen of the republic of Texas, and shall have resided in this State one year next preceding an election, and the last six months with the district, county, city, or town in which he offers to vote, (Indians not taxed, Africans, and descendants of Africans, 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.

SEC. 2. All free male persons over the age of twenty one years, (Indians not taxed, Africans, and descendants of Africans, excepted,) who shall have resided six months in Texas immediately preceding the acceptance of this constitution by the Congress of the United States, shall be deemed qualified electors.

SEC. 3. Electors in all cases shall be privileged from arrest during their attendance at elections, and in going to and returning from same; except in cases of treason, felony, or breach of the peace.

SEC. 4. 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 Texas. The style of all laws shall be, "Be it enacted by the legislature of the State of Texas."

SEC. 5. 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 biennial, at such times as shall be prescribed by law.

SEC. 6. No person shall be a representative unless he be a citizen of the United States, or at the time of the adoption of this constitution a citizen of the republic of Texas, and shall have been an inhabitant of this State two years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a citizen of the county, city, or town for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of twenty one years at the time of his election.

SEC. 7. All elections by the people shall be held at such time and places in the several counties, cities, or towns as are not, or may hereafter be, designated by law.

SEC. 8. 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. 9. 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. 10. 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. 11. No person shall be a senator unless he be a citizen of the United States, or at the time of the acceptance of this constitution by the Congress of the United States a citizen of the republic of Texas, and shall have been an inhabitant 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 thirty years.

SEC. 12. 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 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. 13. 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. 14. 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. 15. 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. 16. 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. 17. 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 fourty-eight hours.

SEC. 18. The doors of each house shall be kept open.

SEC. 19. 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. 20. 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. 21. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may amend or reject them as other bills.

SEC. 22. 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. 23. 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.

SEC. 24. 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 emoluments of which may have been increased, during such term; and no member of either house of the legislature shall, during the term for which he is elected, be eligible to any office or place the appointment to which may be made in whole or in part by either branch of the legislature; nor shall the members thereof be capable of voting for a member of their own body for any office whatever, except it be in such cases as are therein provided. The president for the time being of the Senate and speaker of the House of Representatives shall be elected from their respective bodies.

SEC. 25. No judge of any court of law or equity, secretary or 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 the militia to which there is attached no annual salary, or the office of justice of the peace, shall not be deemed lucrative.

SEC. 26. No person who, at any time, may have been a collector of taxes, or who may have been otherwise intrusted 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 intrusted.

SEC. 27. Ministers of the gospel being, by their profession, dedicated to God, and the care of souls, ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions; therefore, no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to the legislature.

SEC. 28. Elections for senators and representatives shall be general throughout the State, and shall be regulated by law.

SEC. 29. The legislature shall, at their first meeting, and in the years one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight and fifty, and every eight years thereafter, cause an enumeration to be made of all the free inhabitants (Indians not taxed, Africans, and descendants of Africans, excepted) of the State, designating, particularly, the number of qualified electors; and the whole number of representatives shall, at the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the legislature, and apportioned among the several counties, cities or towns, according to the number of free population in each, and shall not be less than forty-five, nor more than ninety.

SEC. 30. Until the first enumeration and apportionment under this constitution, the following shall be the apportionment of representatives amongst the several counties, viz:

The county of Montgomery shall elect four representatives; the counties of Red River, Harrison, Nacogdoches, Harris, and Washington, shall elect three representatives each; the counties of Fannin, Lamar, Bowie, Shelby, San Augustine, Rusk, Houston, Sabine, Liberty, Robertson, Galveston, Brazoria, Fayette, Colorado, Austin, Gonzales, and Bexar, two representatives each: the counties of Jefferson, Jasper, Brazos, Milam, Bastrop, Travis, Matagorda, Jackson, Fort Bend, Victoria, Refugio, Goliad, and San Patricio, one representative each.

SEC. 31. 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-three.

SEC. 32. Until the first enumeration, as provided for by this constitution, the senatorial districts shall be as follows, to wit: The counties of Fannin and Lamar shall constitute the first district, and elect one senator; the counties of Red River and Bowie the second district, and elect one senator; the counties of Fannin, Lamar, Red River, and Bowie, conjointly, shall elect one senator; the county of Harrison, the third district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Nacogdoches, Rusk, and Houston, the fourth district, shall elect two senators; the counties of San Augustine and Shelby, the fifth district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Sabine and Jasper, the sixth district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Liberty and Jefferson, the seventh district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Robertson and Brazos, the eighth district, shall elect one senator; the county of Montgomery, the ninth district, shall elect one senator; the county of Harris, the tenth district, shall elect one senator; the county of Galveston, the eleventh district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Brazoria and Matagorda, the twelfth district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Austin and Fort Bend, the thirteenth district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Colorado and Fayette, the fourteenth district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Bastrop and Travis, the fifteenth district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Washington and Milam, the sixteenth district, shall elect one senator; the counties of Victoria, Gonzales, and Jackson, the seventeenth district, shall elect one senator; the county of Bexar, the eighteenth district, shall elect one senator; and the counties of Goliad, Refugio, and San Patricio, the nineteenth district, shall elect one senator.

SEC. 33. The first session of the legislature, after the adoption of this constitution by the Congress of the United States, shall be held at the city of Austin, the present seat of government, and thereafter until the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty; after which period the seat of government shall be permanently located by the people.

SEC. 34. The members of the legislature shall, at their first session, receive from the treasury of the State, as their compensation, three dollars for each day they shall be in attendance on, and three dollars for every twenty-five miles travelling to and from the place of convening, the legislature.

SEC. 35. In order to settle permanently the seat of government, an election shall be holden throughout the State, at the usual places of holding elections, on the first Monday in March, one thousand eight hundred and fifty, 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 by the first Monday in June. 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 until the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy, unless the State shall sooner be divided. 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, on the first Monday in October, one thousand eight hundred and fifty, between the two places having the highest number of votes at the first election. The 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 seat of government for the time herein before provided.