HBA-LJP H.J.R. 69 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.J.R. 69 By: Junell Constitutional Revision, Select 3/23/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. ANALYSIS 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. 7.03). 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). FOR ELECTION This proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at an election to be held November 6, 2001.