Article 4 of the Texas Constitution Summary

The Constitution of 1876 began with a long Bill of Rights. He stated that Texas was a free and independent state subject only to the United States Constitution, that all free men had equal rights, and that the habeas corpus order could not be suspended or excessively delayed. The article also prohibited official religious examinations (with the exception of recognition of the existence of a supreme being), improper searches and detention for debts, and guaranteed freedom of expression and of the press, the right of the accused to be released on bail and tried by a jury, and the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. The section of the Act sets out in detail the powers and limits of the legislator. The legislature should consist of two chambers, a Senate, which should be composed of thirty-one members, and a House of Representatives, which should never have more than 150 members. Senators and members of Parliament should be in office for four and two years, respectively. Legislators should receive one mileage and no more than five dollars a day for the first sixty days of each session, and two dollars a day thereafter. The Legislative Assembly, which was to meet every two years, could not assume a debt of more than $200,000 and could not establish its mandate for more than two years. He was required to levy taxes on all properties relative to their value and to hold their meetings in Austin. The executive article provided for seven officers – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Commissioner of the Land Office and Attorney General. All but the Secretary of State should be elected by voters for a two-year term, but with no restrictions on eligibility for new terms.

All salaries were reduced, those of the governor from $5,000 to $4,000. The governor was authorized to convene the legislature in special sessions, call on the militia to enforce the laws, suppress the insurrection, protect the border from hostile Indians, and veto laws and posts in budget laws; However, his veto could be overturned by a two-thirds majority of both chambers. The governor was also allowed to make certain appointments, fill vacancies, and faithfully enforce laws, but he did not have control over local officials or other elected officials of the state. The court article provided for a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeal, District Courts, District Courts, Commissioner Courts and Justices of the Peace. All judges should be elected by referendum, with a term of six years for the Supreme and Criminal Courts of Appeal, four years for the District Courts and two years for all other courts. The number of district courts was set at twenty-six, but the legislature had the power to establish more if necessary. The Texas Supreme Court, which consisted of three judges, had appellate jurisdiction only in civil cases, and the Court of Appeals, which was composed of three judges, had appellate jurisdiction over all criminal cases and certain categories of civil cases. District courts have been vested with initial jurisdiction (in criminal cases) for crimes and misdemeanours related to official misconduct and (in civil cases) for a long list of prosecutions. The district courts have been competent to appeal through the district courts in matters of homologation.

The article also mandated a court in each organized district with jurisdiction at first instance for offences not granted to justices of the peace, and certain civil cases and appellate jurisdiction in cases emanating from the justice of the peace. Justices of the peace, no less than four or more than eight in each county, have been given jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters with no more than $200 in controversy or punishment. The Commissioners` Court should be composed of the District Judge and four elected Commissioners, one from each Commissioner`s District. The current document was adopted on February 15, 1876 and is the seventh constitution in Texas history (including the Mexican Constitution). The previous six were adopted in 1827 (when Texas was still part of Mexico and half of the state of Coahuila y Tejas), 1836 (the Constitution of the Republic of Texas), 1845 (when it was admitted to the United States), 1861 (at the beginning of the American Civil War), 1866 (at the end of the American Civil War), 1866 (at the end of the American Civil War), 1866 (at the end of the American Civil War). and 1869. As with many state constitutions, it explicitly provides for the separation of powers and includes its Bill of Rights directly in the constitutional text (as Article I). The Bill of Rights is much longer and more detailed than the Federal Bill of Rights and contains certain provisions that are unique to Texas. [Citation needed] A number of electors of the President and Vice President equal to the total number of senators and congressmen to which the district would be entitled if it were a state, but in no case more than the least populous state; they are in addition to the votes designated by States, but are deemed to be electors designated by a State for the purpose of electing the President and Vice-President; and they shall meet in the district and perform the functions provided for in the twelfth article of the amendment.