Introduction Sub national Governments




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Introduction

  • Sub national Governments:

  • State and local governments have been characterized by revitalization and diversity since the 1960’s.

  • States have become more active players in policymaking.

  • States still remain diverse in their populations and policies.

State Constitutions

  • In General

  • Each state has its own unique constitution.

  • They are subordinate to the U.S. Constitution.

  • State constitutions have more detail about specific policies.

  • Specific interests work to protect their issues in the constitutions since it is harder to amend them.




Constitutions

  • Constitutions establish a government’s structure and powers. What will it create?

  • Parliamentary or separate executive?

  • Unicameral or bicameral?

  • Power of each branch?

  • Selection method and term length?

  • Checks and balances?

  • Term length?

  • Every Constitution is a product of the experiences of those writing it.

  • U.S. Federal Constitution contains sections on:

  • Congress may not grant letters of marque (authorizing privacy against other countries)

  • Nor grant titles of nobility

  • Nor quarter troops in a private person’s home

  • Outdated sections, but very important to the Founders in 1789

The Seven Texas Constitutions

1827 - Constitution of Coahuila y Tejas

  • 1836 - Constitution of the Republic

  • 1845 - Constitution of 1845

  • 1861 - Civil War Constitution

  • 1866 - Constitution of 1866

  • 1869 - Reconstruction Constitution

  • 1876 - Texas Constitution




A State of Mexico:
The 1827 Constitution

  • Prior to its independence, Texas was governed as part of Mexico.

  • The 1824 Constitution of Mexico established a federal republic and provided that each state should write its own constitution in 1827.

  • Texas and Coahuila established a constitution in 1827.

Independence:
The 1836 Texas Constitution

  • Texas declared independence in 1836.

  • Republic of Texas

  • Created a bicameral Congress

  • House and Senate whose members were popularly elected

  • Exercised powers similar to those of the U.S. Congress

  • Executive branch included a president and vice president

  • Judiciary consisted of courts at four levels: justice, county, district, and supreme courts




The 1836 Texas Constitution

  • Included a preamble and:

  • Incorporation of a separation of powers combined with checks and balances

  • Recognition of slavery

  • Definition of citizenship that precluded Africans, the descendents of Africans, and Indians

  • A Bill of Rights

  • Adult male suffrage




A State of the United States:
The 1845 Texas Constitution

  • A new constitution was necessary when Texas ceased to be an independent republic and joined the United States.

  • June 1845 — President Anson Jones

  • Meeting to discuss annexation

  • Drew up new state constitution which was ratified in October 1845

  • Texas was the 28th state to join the U.S.




The 1845 Texas Constitution

  • Noted as an extremely good constitution

  • Straightforward, simple form

  • Created a bicameral legislature (House and Senate) that met every two years

  • Governor served a two year term

  • Limited to serving no more than 4 years in any six-year period

  • Appointed Attorney General and Secretary of State

  • General Provisions: longest article

  • Limited legislatures powers

  • Created a public school system

  • Allowed, but did not require, the emancipation of slaves




Secede and Join the Confederacy:
The 1861 Texas Constitution

  • Texas seceded from the U.S. in February 1861 (Civil War)

  • Convention to transition Texas into the Confederacy

  • Replace the 1845 constitution

  • Deleted provision that provided for the emancipation of slaves

  • But other provisions regarding slaves and slave trade were not incorporated




Presidential Reconstruction:
The 1866 Texas Constitution

  • Southern States were occupied by Union military as conquered territories

  • President Lincoln (and successor, VP Andrew Johnson) interest was in rebuilding the Union

  • Preferred easy and rapid return of the South to the Union

  • Healing of the wounds of war




The 1866 Texas Constitution

  • When Texas reentered the union after the Civil War, presidential Reconstruction required certain changes to the state’s charter.

  • Only white men could serve in the legislature

  • Acceptance of abolition of slavery

  • Also added series of narrowly adopted amendments

  • Governor’s term increased to 4 years

  • Governor prohibited from serving more than 8 years in a 12-year period

  • Governor given a line-item veto

  • Salaries increased

  • State supreme court extended to 5 judges; elected to 10 year terms




Congressional Reconstruction:
The 1869 Texas Constitution

  • Also known as Radical Reconstructionists and Radical Reconstruction period

  • Many members of Congress wanted vengeance.

  • Blamed the South for

  • Starting the Civil War

  • Injury and death to friends

  • Cost of the War




Congressional Reconstruction

  • Imposed additional requirements readmission of Southern States

  • Texas required to have another constitutional convention with delegates elected by all male citizens over age 21 regardless of color or previous condition of servitude

  • Convention dominated by a slate of Republican delegates

  • Wrote a hasty constitution accepted by Union military leaders and eventually approved by voters.




Radical Reconstructionist Dominance

  • Former Confederate officers (the experienced political leaders in the South) banned from serving in any public office

  • Most were Democrats because the Republican Party was the party of Abraham Lincoln and the Union

  • Leadership in the defeated South during Reconstruction was largely be Republicans




Republicans in Control

  • Republican coalition the South consisted of

  • Carpetbaggers -- Northerners who moved to the South during Reconstruction, 1865-1877

  • Freedmen – freed slaves

  • “Scalawags” – Southern whites more interested in making money than rebuilding their states




  • How does a small group control the many?

  • A small group – the governor and state legislators – could control the state government, but not all the counties, cities, and towns.

  • So, centralize power at the state level

The 1869 Texas Constitution

  • Created a strong and expensive state government

  • Increased the salary of state officials – governor and state legislators

  • All public education run by the state

  • Allowed the governor to appoint the attorney general and secretary of state




Other Centralization Features

  • Governor given the power by the Constitution or statutes passed by the Republican-dominated legislature to:

  • Declare martial law

  • Create a state police force controlled by the governor

  • Appoint mayors, district attorneys and hundreds of local officials

  • Designate newspapers as official state printers – governor could dictate their content




Texan (Democratic) Resurgence

  • Congress had lost interest in Reconstruction

  • 1872, Democrats gained control of state legislatures

  • 1873, elected Democrat Richard Coke as governor

  • Called for a new Constitutional Convention




Reasons for the 1876 Constitution

  • A reaction to Reconstruction

  • 1869 constitution made many Texans angry

  • 1869 constitution had led to Governor E.J. Davis’s regime

  • Power had been centralized in the state government

  • Education policies in the administration had led to rising costs in property taxes




  • Government under Reconstruction was so bad the 1875 Constitutional Convention basically created an anti-government document

  • Government, particularly state government, is evil, but necessary

  • So, restrict it as much as possible




Constitutional Types:
Brief Basic Constitution

  • Brief basic (or liberal) constitution

  • Describes offices, how people are selected to serve in offices, and power of each office

  • Examples from U.S. Federal Constitution

  • Executive power resides in president who shall have a veto, but all government agencies created later by the legislature

  • Supreme court and such lower courts as Congress may establish

Constitutional Types:
Statutory Constitution

  • Includes excessive detail about government such as creating state agencies and multiple levels of courts

  • Specifies details of government structure at all levels including counties and cities

  • Also includes actual policies

Democratic governor Richard Coke pleaded with the 1875 constitutional convention:

  • “It will be found universally true that those state constitutions which contain the smallest number of provisions, which adhere most closely to fundamental declarations, and to fixing simply the boundaries, leaving the interior to be filled by the enactments of the legislatures, have been the wisest and most enduring.”




The Statutory Decision

  • Instead, the 1875 constitutional convention opted for a statutory constitution

  • Why? To make sure Reconstruction never happened again.

  • How?

  • Restricting political power and politicians

  • Dispersing power very widely

  • Setting some policies in the constitution




Statutory Constitution:
The Executive

  • Governor’s term limited to 2 years and salary cut

  • Governor is but one of many elected executives. Others include:

  • Lieutenant governor

  • Attorney general

  • Commissioner of the General Land Office

  • Comptroller

  • And others




Statutory Constitution:
The Legislature

  • Meets only 140 days every TWO years

  • Pay (in 1876) of $5 per day, cut to about $2 per day after 60 days (discourage “professional politicians – carpetbaggers and scalawags – from wanting to serve in the legislature

  • Severe restrictions on many powers include what taxes could be used for

  • Included “dedicated funds” for many taxes

Statutory Constitution:
The Judiciary

  • Large number of courts identified in the constitution

  • Two supreme courts

  • Appeals courts

  • State District courts

  • County Courts at Law

  • Country Constitutional Courts

  • Justice of the Peace courts

  • Judges of all these courts elected to fixed terms of office




Statutory Constitution:
County Government

  • Every county will have an elected:

  • Constitutional Court and Judge

  • Sherriff

  • District attorney

  • Clerk

  • Marshall

  • Constable

  • Justice of the peace

  • And more




Statutory Constitution:
Some Government Policies

  • PUF funding for UT and A&M

  • Maximum amount of welfare received

  • Operation of county hospitals in Ochiltree, Castro, Hansford, and Hopkins counties

  • Regulating expenditures for relocation or replacement of sanitary sewer laterals on private property

  • The Texas Constitution

  • Articles:

  • 1 - BILL OF RIGHTS

  • 2 - THE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT

  • 3 - LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

  • 4 - EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

  • 5 - JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

  • 6 - SUFFRAGE

  • 7 - EDUCATION

  • 8 - TAXATION AND REVENUE

  • 9 - COUNTIES

  • 10 - RAILROADS

  • 11 - MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS

  • 12 - PRIVATE CORPORATIONS

  • 13 - SPANISH AND MEXICAN LAND TITLES (Repealed Aug. 5, 1969.)

  • 14 - PUBLIC LANDS AND LAND OFFICE

  • 15 - IMPEACHMENT

  • 16 - GENERAL PROVISIONS

  • 17 - MODE OF AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS STATE




The Texas Constitution
Article 1 BILL OF RIGHTS

  • Sec. 1 - FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE

  • Sec. 2 INHERENT POLITICAL POWER; REPUBLICAN FORM

  • OF GOVERNMENT

  • Sec. 3 EQUAL RIGHTS

  • Sec. 3a EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW

  • Sec. 4 RELIGIOUS TESTS

  • Sec. 5 WITNESSES NOT DISQUALIFIED BY RELIGIOUS

  • BELIEFS; OATHS AND AFFIRMATIONS

  • Sec. 6 FREEDOM OF WORSHIP

  • Sec. 7 APPROPRIATIONS FOR SECTARIAN PURPOSES

  • Sec. 8 FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PRESS; LIBEL

  • Sec. 9 SEARCHES AND SEIZURES

  • Sec. 10 RIGHTS OF ACCUSED IN CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS

  • Sec. 11 BAIL ­

  • Sec. 11a MULTIPLE CONVICTIONS; DENIAL OF BAIL

  • Sec. 11b VIOLATION OF CONDITION OF RELEASE PENDING

  • TRIAL; DENIAL OF BAIL

  • Sec. 12 HABEAS CORPUS

  • Sec. 13 EXCESSIVE BAIL OR FINES; CRUEL AND

  • UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT; REMEDY BY DUE COURSE

  • OF LAW

  • Sec. 14 DOUBLE JEOPARDY

  • Sec. 15 RIGHT OF TRIAL BY JURY

  • Sec. 15-a COMMITMENT OF PERSONS OF UNSOUND MIND

  • Sec. 16 BILLS OF ATTAINDER; EX POST FACTO OR

  • RETROACTIVE LAWS; IMPAIRING OBLIGATION OF

  • CONTRACTS

  • Sec. 17 TAKING, DAMAGING, OR DESTROYING PROPERTY

  • FOR PUBLIC USE; SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND

  • IMMUNITIES; CONTROL OF PRIVILEGES AND

  • FRANCHISES

  • Sec. 18 IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT

  • Sec. 19 DEPRIVATION OF LIFE, LIBERTY, ETC.; DUE COURSE

  • OF LAW

  • Sec. 20 OUTLAWRY OR TRANSPORTATION FOR OFFENSE

  • Sec. 21 CORRUPTION OF BLOOD; FORFEITURE;

  • SUICIDES

  • Sec. 22 TREASON

  • Sec. 23 RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS

  • Sec. 24 MILITARY SUBORDINATE TO CIVIL AUTHORITY

  • Sec. 25 QUARTERING SOLDIERS IN HOUSES

  • Sec. 26 PERPETUITIES AND MONOPOLIES; PRIMOGENITURE

  • OR ENTAILMENTS

  • Sec. 27 RIGHT OF ASSEMBLY; PETITION FOR REDRESS OF

  • GRIEVANCES

  • Sec. 28 SUSPENSION OF LAWS

  • Sec. 29 PROVISIONS OF BILL OF RIGHTS EXCEPTED FROM

  • POWERS OF GOVERNMENT; TO FOREVER REMAIN

  • INVIOLATE

  • Sec. 30 RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMS

  • Sec. 31 COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS OF CRIME FUND;

  • COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS OF CRIME AUXILIARY

  • FUND; USE OF FUND MONEY

  • Sec. 32 MARRIAGE

Impact of 1876 Constitution

  • A SUCCESS – Texans have never again suffered from a post Civil War Reconstruction

  • But:

  • Confusing and uncoordinated government

  • Lacks flexibility for modern times

  • Citizens must vote constantly on amendments

  • Special interest provisions in Constitution

Changing the Texas Constitution

  • Amending the Texas Constitution

  • Requires two-thirds support in each chamber of Texas legislature.

  • The Secretary of State writes explanatory statements.

  • The Attorney General certifies the amendment.

  • Legislature prepares language for ballot, usually in November following a legislative session.

  • The majority of voters must approve it.




Some Amendments to the Texas Constitution submitted to the voters 2005

  • Defining economic development programs as not constituting debt

  • Clearance of certain land titles in Upshur & Smith counties

  • Funding created for Texas rail facilities

  • Add members to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct

  • Expand the terms of member of the regional mobility authority to six years




Some Amendments to the Texas Constitution submitted to the voters 2001

  • Resolving land ownership conflicts in Bastrop County

  • Allowing the state to sell bonds for colonia roads

  • Allows a four-year term for fire fighters' pension commissioner

  • Allowing the Water Development Board to issue bonds.




Some Amendments to the Texas Constitution submitted to the voters 1999 & 1997

  • Definition and allowance of advances under a reverse mortgage

  • Permission for political subdivisions to purchase nonassessable property insurance

  • Allows Municipal Court Judges to hold more than one office

  • Allows the Texas Supreme Court to sit anywhere in the State




Some Amendments to the Texas Constitution submitted to the voters 1995 & 1993

  • Clearing land titles in Fort Bend and Austin Counties

  • Abolish office of county surveyor in Jackson County

  • Abolish office of county surveyor in McLennan County

  • Modifying provisions for redemption of real property

  • Encumbrance fixed on homestead property for an owelty of partition

  • Abolish the office of constable in Mills, Reagan & Roberts Counties




Statutory Constitution Amendments

  • Are voters qualified or sufficiently informed to make these decisions intelligently?

  • In most governments these are dealt with via statutes – bills or laws passed by legislators who study these matters

  • Hence the term, a “Statutory” constitution

Statutory Constitutions and Special Interests

  • Special Interest love statutory constitutions

  • A media campaign can persuade voters to approve adding to the constitution protection for a selected group

  • Example: Proposition 12, 2003, heavily promoted by doctors, business interests, and insurance companies limited the size of medical malpractice suits




Other Amendments over time

  • 2001:

  • Tax exemptions for certain cocoa and coffee held in Harris Co

  • Exempting certain business equipment from property taxes

  • Exempting certain travel trailers from ad valorem taxes

  • 1999

  • Exempting from ad valorem taxation leased motor vehicles

  • 1995

  • Exempting certain personal property & mineral interests from taxation

  • Exempting from ad valorem taxation boats and other equipment

Amendment Frequency

  • Statutory constitutions require frequent amendments to change out-of-date provisions

  • And encourage others from special interests

  • U.S. Federal Constitution

  • @ 220 years old, only 17 amendments since the Bill of Rights

  • Texas Constitution

  • @ 130 years old, 439 amendments as of 2006

Amendment elections

  • Usually held in November of odd-numbered years

  • Not the same time as when voting for president or governor

  • Voter turnout is very low

  • Usually less than 10%




Rewriting the Texas Constitution

  • Has been tried many times

  • As early as 1917 and as late as 1999

  • None succeeded

  • Most significant attempt was 1974

  • Revision convention failed because various special interests fought against losing some favored protection




Never in the Texas Constitution

  • Initiative:

  • proposed changes to laws be put on the ballot if enough signatures are collected

  • Referendum:

  • voters approve or disapprove state legislation

  • Recall:

  • voters may vote someone out of office




  • Texas Constitution acceptable for a small state

  • limited population and limited needs

  • Was fine for Texas in 1876

  • Texas is now the second largest state in the nation

  • And larger than most foreign countries

  • Texas still does OK

  • Not because of Constitution

  • But IN SPITE OF Constitution



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