Office of House Bill AnalysisH.J.R. 69
By: Junell
Constitutional Revision, Select


In 1973, the 63rd Legislature created the Constitutional Revisions
Commission composed of 37 public officials, lawyers, scholars, and citizens
to assemble that same year and to submit recommendations on the
constitutional revision to the legislature.  The subsequent constitutional
convention of the legislature in 1974 submitted a revised constitution to
the public but voters rejected the proposal in 1975.  House Joint
Resolution 69 incorporates elements from the 1975 constitutional proposal
and work of the Angelo State University Department of Government in the
Texas Constitution and requires the approval of the majority of voters to
be adopted. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this resolution
does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Joint Resolution 69 revises the Texas Constitution to restructure,
modify, remove, and implement provisions. 

Article 2 Powers of the Government

The resolution expressly reserves to the state all governmental power not
denied by the state or federal constitution (Sec. 2.01). 

Article 3 Legislative Branch

The resolution removes the restrictions on eligibility of other officers
for election to the legislature and provides for the eligibility of a
member of the legislature to hold other offices related to a multimember
governmental body that includes executive officers and sets the term limits
for members of the senate and the house.  The resolution sets forth
provisions for the determination of the compensation of members by the
Texas Salary Commission (commission) and also provides for the salary of
the speaker of the house. The resolution raises the terms of senators from
four years to six years, and raises the terms of representatives from two
years to four years (Secs. 3.03-3.07, and 3.09). 

The resolution prohibits a veto session from exceeding 15 consecutive days
and authorizes the legislature to meet in a presession organizational
assembly to elect officers, adopt rules of procedures and otherwise
organize before convening in regular session (Secs. 3.10 and 3.11).  The
resolution prohibits members of the legislature from representing clients
before state agencies to avoid conflicts of interest (Sec. 3.13). 

Article 4 Executive Branch

The resolution sets forth provisions relating to the creation of the
executive department of the governor, including cabinets and other
executive agencies (Sec. 4.01- 4.03). 
The lieutenant governor receives the same salary as the governor while
serving or acting as governor (Sec. 4.07). 

The resolution authorizes the governor to submit a written reorganization
plan of the executive branch agencies to the legislature.  The existing
state agencies remain  in effect until the agencies are altered by statute
or by the governor's reorganization plan (Sec. 4.13).  The resolution
authorizes the governor, notwithstanding the constitutional authority of
the attorney general to represent the state before the courts, to intervene
in any legal action in which the state is a party and in which the governor
believes the intervention prudent and necessary (Sec. 4.12).   The
resolution also authorizes the governor, without a written signed
recommendation by the Board of Pardons and Paroles, to grant reprieves
relating to the execution of death sentences (Sec. 4.14). 

The resolution provides that the compensation of constitutional executive
officers is set by the Texas Salary Commission (Sec. 4.20). 

Article 5 Judicial Branch

The resolution merges the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court
into a single supreme court. The resolution increases the number of supreme
court justices from eight to fifteen with seven of the justices
constituting the criminal division, seven justices constituting the civil
division, and one chief justice (Secs. 5.02 and 5.03). 

The current justices of both courts will serve on the unified supreme
court, subject to a retention election at the end of each justice's term.
The resolution provides that the governor appoint the initial chief
justice. The justices of the supreme court and judges of appeals court and
district courts, in the first instance, are appointed by the governor, but
are subject to nonpartisan retention election without an opponent at the
end of each term (Sec. 5.09). 

Article 6 Voter Qualifications and Elections

The resolution sets forth provisions regarding statewide general elections
on even-numbered years, voting by secret ballot, protection of the
integrity of the electoral process, and the administration and conduct of
elections (Sec. 6.02). 

Article 7 Education

The resolution provides that not more than 15 percent of the state's public
free school students, as defined by law, may be enrolled in school
districts in which the financial resources available per student are not
equalized by the state.  All other  school districts must have
substantially equal access to similar revenues per pupil at similar tax
rates (Sec. 7.01).  The resolution requires the legislature by general law
to provide for establishing, financing, consolidating, and abolishing
school districts and community college districts and to define the powers
of each district (Sec. 7.02).  The resolution authorizes the legislature by
general law to allocate to the available school fund not more than one-half
of the capital gains on investment of the permanent school fund (Sec.

In order to ensure that provisions relating to the availability fund, bonds
and appropriations of The Texas A&M University System and The University of
Texas System do not impair any obligation created by the issuance of these
bonds and notes, the resolution requires the distribution from the income,
investment returns, or other assets of the permanent university fund be
directed to the available university fund during each fiscal year in an
amount at least equal to the amount necessary to pay the principal and
interest due and owing during the fiscal year on those bonds and notes.
This provision expires January 1, 2030 (Sec. 7.067). 

The resolution raises, from $100 million to $250 million, the appropriation
out of the first money coming into the state treasury to be allocated to
state institutions of higher education other than institutions that
receive funding under the permanent school fund or are junior colleges
(Sec. 7.07). 

Article 8 Finance

The resolution prohibits the levying of state ad valorem tax on real
property or tangible personal property, except for a statewide ad valorem
tax to provide state support for the public free schools as provided by law
(Sec. 8.01).  The resolution authorizes the legislature to provide
exemptions and other relief from ad valorem taxation, in addition to
constitutionally mandated ad valorem tax exemptions (Sec. 8.05). 

The resolution removes the provision providing that the net revenues
remaining after the dedication of money from the personal income tax be
used to reduce the rate of ad valorem maintenance and operation taxes
levied for the support of primary and secondary public education.  The
resolution provides that all state money from any source, other than trust
funds established by law, may be expended only as appropriated (Secs. 8.12
and 8.16).  The resolution sets forth provisions relating to the execution
of a budget, state debt, limit on state debt, limitations on certain
appropriations, and the Texas growth fund that invests in new, small, or
rapid growth potential businesses (Secs. 8.14, 8.15, 8.19, and 8.20).  The
resolution prohibits the imposition of a state personal income tax unless
approved by the voters (Sec. 8.11). 

Article 9 Local Government

The resolution provides that the qualified voters of each county elect a
sheriff, treasurer, and tax assessorcollector (Sec. 9.03). 

The resolution requires the legislature to provide by law for general-law
and home-rule municipalities which are required to be classified according
to population.  The resolution requires the legislature to provide by law
for a home-rule municipality which is required to be classified according
to population (Sec. 9.04). The resolution also requires the legislature by
general or local law to provide for establishing, financing, consolidating,
and abolishing special districts and authorities and to define the powers
of these districts or authorities (Sec. 9.05). 

The resolution prohibits a political subdivision from issuing certain
bonds, unless the bonds are approved by a majority vote of the qualified
voters voting for such a purpose (Sec. 9.07). 

Article 10 General Provisions

The resolution sets forth the official oath for each state and local
officer to take before entering the duties of public office (Sec. 10.02). 

The resolution establishes the Texas Salary Commission (commission) to
recommend the rate of compensation for elected and appointed officers of
the executive branch, judges of state district courts, judges and justices
of appellate courts, and sets the compensation for members of the
legislature as provided by applicable provisions (Sec. 10.08). 

The resolution provides that the definition of "marriage" is the union of a
man and a woman joined in a mutual social and legal dependence for the
purpose of founding and maintaining a family, and provides that the
definition of "spouse" is one of the people united in marriage.  The
resolution authorizes a spouse to convert, by written instrument, the
community interest of a spouse to the separate property of the other spouse
(Sec. 10.09). 

The resolution provides that the urban homestead consists of land, with
improvements, located in a municipality on any residential lot not to
exceed 10 acres, if used as a home or as both a home and  place for
conducting the occupation of the claimant and sets forth provisions
relating to homestead equity loans (Sec. 10.10). 

The resolution removes provisions relating to the limitations on the length
of terms of office.  The  resolution  provides that current wages are only
subject to garnishment for the enforcement of court-ordered child support
payments or spousal maintenance (Sec. 10.12). 


This proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at
an election to be held November 6, 2001.