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Constitution of the State of Texas (1861)

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ARTICLE III.

LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT.

SECTION 1. That all persons who were citizens of the State of Texas on the second day of March, eighteen hundred and sixty-one; all persons born after that time, of parents, citizens of this State; all persons born in this State of parents residing in and entitled to acquire the rights of citizenship; all citizens of either of the Confederate States of America, or of any State which may hereafter be admitted into union with the Confederate States of America, on terms of equality with them, immigrating to and permanently residing in this State; all persons naturalized by the Constitution and laws of the Confederate States of America and of this State, and permanently residing therein, (Indians not taxed, negroes and their descendants excepted,) shall be citizens of the State of Texas.

SEC. 2. All free male citizens of this State, as defined in the preceding section, over the age of twenty-one years, who shall have resided in this State one year next preceding an election, and the last six months in the district, county, city or town in which they offer to vote, shall be deemed qualified electors; and should any 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; and qualified electors shall be permitted to vote anywhere in the State for State officers; provided, that no soldier, seaman or marine in the regular army or navy of the Confederate States of America, shall be entitled to vote at any election created by this Constitution.

SEC. 3. 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. 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 this State, and shall have been an inhabitant of this State two years next preceeding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district, county, city or town for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of 21 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 now, 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 this State, and shall have been an inhabitant of this State three years next preceeding 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 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. 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; providing, such imprisonment shall not at any one time exceed forty-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 that in which they may be sitting without the concurrence than 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 chases 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.

SEC. 25. 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 lucrative office under the Confederate States of America, or this State, or any foreign government, shall be eligible to the Legislature; nor shall any person, 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, and 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 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. 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 year 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.

"[Sections 30 and 32, being obsolete, are omitted.]"

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. The first session of the Legislature, after the adoption of this Constitution of the Congress of the United Sates, 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.

[This Constitution was never "adopted" by the United States Congress; but Congress passed an act admitting Texas into the Union, on the 29th December, 1845.]

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 traveling 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 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.