Point Of Order – Texas Constitution
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By etrigan - Last updated: Tuesday, September 9, 2003 - Save & Share - 3 Comments

I have a good excuse for not understanding the structure of Texas politics because I grew up in Louisiana, but the truth is I don’t understand La. politics either. A speaker on local NPR radio this morning brought up the point that we were voting on “a ton of constitutional amendments”:http://tlcweb.tlc.state.tx.us/research/analyses072403/sept13amd.htm this weekend and queried why amendments were neccesary to make laws. Is that how Texas works? Is the only way to make a law by making an ammendment? If not, why are there “so many”:http://lrlweb.lrl.state.tx.us/legis/constAmends/lrlhome.cfm ?

bq. ??The Texas Constitution is one of the longest in the nation and is still growing. As of 2001 (77th Legislature), the Texas Legislature has passed a total of 584 amendments. Of these, 410 have been adopted and 174 have been defeated by Texas voters. Thus, the Texas Constitution has been amended 410 times since its adoption in 1876.??

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3 Responses to “Point Of Order – Texas Constitution”

Comment from BT
Time September 9, 2003 at 11:30 am

I don’t know squat about the Texas constitution, but I believe that the old Louisiana constitution remains the longest written legal document in the history of mankind. It had thousands of amendments, and attempted to codify just about every state law.

I don’t know why it was so long, but maybe people thought it would be easier to have everything in one document, or maybe they wanted to make sure that the government could not do anything without amending the constitution, so it grew into the beast that it was.

In any case, the old constitution was thrown out in 1973 or 1974, and the state’s new constitution is merely crazy long, rather than absurdly long.

Comment from jank
Time September 9, 2003 at 3:53 pm

Populism, baby. States west of the Mississippi had a much more democratic (as in direct democracy, majority rules kind of democracy as opposed to the republic type of democracy where we elect smart people to make decisions for the masses that the masses are too dumb to make on their own) flavor when their constitutions were written up, probably owing to the fact that the folks who loaded up the Conestogas and headed west were sick of the high and mighty types who tended to govern the Republic.

Since Texas (to the best of my knowledge; I’ll read the darn thing when I get a chance) has no direct ballot initiative process (like Cali), the legislature puts pseudo-controversial measures on the ballot to let the citizens take the fall for passing them, instead of the legislators directly.

Comment from Beldar
Time September 10, 2003 at 10:44 pm

Actually, this dates back to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Post-Reconstruction Texans were badly burned by laws passed by the “carpet-bagger Legislatures” immediately after the Civil War, and so rewrote the state constitution in the late 1870s or early 1880s to pretty much handcuff the Texas Legislature and require state-wide votes on anything significant.

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