Texas Constitution is widely criticized, particularly with regards to the Legislative Branch, Executive Branch, and lastly the Judicial Branch. Legislative Branch is the longest in the Texas Constitution consisting of 31 Senate members and 150 House of Representatives members. The Executive Branch is a plural executive branch, which divides the executive power among a number of independently elected officers. Judicial Branch is the smallest branch of the state government, which includes the court systems. In this essay I will addressee problems correlated with each of these branches and propose any changes I feel are needed.
Legislative Branch assigns power to a bicameral legislative body, which are 31 Senate members and 150 House of Representatives members. One of the problems is that the legislative branch members are only paid an annual salary of $7,200 and a per diem allowance of $139, which is among the lowest compared to any other large states. I feel this is a problem as this could steer the member’s interests towards passing a bill that is focused more towards there benefit. Another problem I feel that needs to be changed is the restriction of legislature to biennial regular sessions. This is an area of concern because the sessions are only limited to 140 days, and due to the short duration some important bills may not receive enough examination or be ignored in total. One suggestion to improve the salary issue is to increase the salary of members to a national average of what the other large state are paying. By doing this, the members will focus on bills that are actually beneficial for the state instead of themselves. One suggestion for the limited session days is to increase the session days from the ongoing 140 days. This will free the members from worrying about the limited days of work and assist them in completing the current task in hand.
Executive Branch establishes a plural executive by dividing the executive powers to many elected officer such as the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller of public accounts, commissioner of the general land office, and the three railroad commissioners. One of the problems of the executive branch I feel exists is the very limited power of the governor. Even though the constitution provided that the governor shall be the chief executive, the office remains the weakest in the nation. The governor of Texas does not have the authority of reduction veto and pocket veto. The governor also has limited removal powers as they may only fire there staff, but removal of state officers is much more difficult. I feel this is a problem because if the chief executive does not have appropriate authority then it makes it more difficult to accomplish simple tasks in a timely manner. One change I suggest is to give the governor more authority where two-thirds of the senators are not required to agree before the governor can proceed.
Judicial Branch is derived Article 5 Section 1 of the Texas Constitution. The branch included the court systems of the state. The purpose of this branch is to clarify the law and resolve legal disagreements between the citizens. It is the smallest branch, but by far the most complex. It is complex due to the number of layers of the court systems, overlapping jurisdiction, and a bifurcated appellate system. There are nine members of the Texas Supreme Court and nine member court of criminal appeals. I believe this is a problem because the variety of courts could be confusing to the citizens. One suggestion to reduce the confusion is to separate the different types of courts within the Judicial Branch into separate branches.
Texas Constitution has three branches which include Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. Each has its strength and weaknesses. This essay was focused on the weaknesses of the three branches and suggestions on how to improve the weaknesses. 1
1 Texas Politics Todat 2011 – 2012 Edition