The basic document of governing in the state of Texas is known as the Texas Constitution, originally taking effect in the year of 1876. It is the seventh in its particular state’s line of history and the fifth since the region of Texas achieved official statehood. According to Article 17 of its stipulations, amendments placed in the hands of the citizens must first be proposed by the Texas State Legislature in what is known as a joint resolution via both the state’s Senators and House of Representatives; originating in either or. Any resolution must be accepted by no less than 66 percent of the members of each seat of legislature–an amount totaling to a least 21 Senate votes and 100 House of Representatives votes (Ballotpedia, n.d.). Voter input of any proposed amendments are allowed to be called by the Texas State Legislature as long as it is published no more than 2 months before the date of the election (Ballotpedia, n.d.). While these amendments have the ability to be proposed in any kind of session, be it special or regular, joint resolutions in support of a new bill are required to include explanation text with a specified date for election. If there is more than a single proposition under ballot consideration, the Secretary of State representing Texas must conduct a randomized drawing for assigning each particular proposition on number of ballot (Ballotpedia, n.d.). Any amendments that face rejection have the privilege of resubmission. All explanations on the ballot must be drafted by the Secretary of State and see subsequent approval via the Texas State Attorney General. Final approval takes effect only after official ballot numbers confirm majority approval on a statewide scale, and all election results are calculated by the Secretary of State with overseeing via the Texas governor for no more than a month following official election (Ballotpedia, n.d.).
Throughout history, there have been a fair number of attempts to revise the constitution of the State of Texas, yet the vast majority of failed. The most notable failure of revision takes place during the period of the 1970s. In the year 1972, a meeting was held where a particular amendment attempted to instantiate not only an introduction of proper constitutional convention but also commission that would study and review the process of revision for the constitution. This particular commission issued specified, precise, and detailed analysis of the existing stipulations and proposed various reform recommendations. Efforts to revise saw failure when a group known as “cockroaches” or individuals who opposed changes and a group known as “revisionists” or individuals “who would only accept a total revision of the constitution, blocked efforts to send a partially revised constitution to the voters” (Dallas Learning Cloud, n.d.). Additional legislature in 1975 that included numerous amendments such as regularly scheduled sessions for legislation, streamlining the judicial branch, a more powerful executive branch coupled with a two term limitation on power, modernizing government in the county, all saw rejection by the voters for similar reasons. A constitution with a broad range for flexibility may appear better in theory than numerous votes for revision, yet it also comes with the price associated with government corruption and abuse of the system to achieve agendas that are strictly within their own favor. Therefore, I believe that the best solution to solve the problems associated with amendments to the Texas Constitution come in the form of having an organized meeting or convention take place once every 5 or 10 years delegated to specifically voting and discussing matters of any revisions. That way modern policies and philosophies have room for growth, and any potential corruption within the government on account of amendment abuse can be minimized as much as possible.
- Ballotpedia. “Texas Constitution.” Ballotpedia – The Encyclopedia of American Politics. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2017.
- Dallas Learning Cloud. “The Texas Constitution – Constitution Revision.” Dallas Learning Cloud. Dallas Learning Solutions, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2017.