State Constitutions and the Texas Constitution

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Lecture 3 Outline of Current Lecture I. State Constitutions a. Preamble b. Bill of Rights c. Outline of Structure & Powers of State Government d. Section On How the Constitution Can Be Amended (Legislative Proposal, Popular Initiatives) II. Other Concepts Related to Amending the constitutions a. Referendum, Constitutional Conventions, Constitutional Commissions III. Differences between the US and TX Constitution a. Length, Frequency of Amendments, Focus, Range of Powers, Supremacy Clause IV. Texas’s 7 Constitutions a. 1827 Constitution of Coahuila y Tejas b. The Republic of Texas Constitution of 1836 c. The Statehood Constitution of 1845 d. The Confederacy Constitution of 1861 e. The Readmission Constitution of 1866 f. The Reconstruction Constitution of 1869 g. The Constitution of 1876 V. Policy Responsibilities of States and Communities – Chapter 1 Politics in States and Communities a. Education, Health and Welfare, Transportation, Public Safety, Civil Rights, Physical Environment, and Taxation Current Lecture State Constitutions Topic = STATE CONSTITUIONS  each state has a constitution that establishes the structure of government, defines the powers available to the government, and describes the limits on the power of the government  includes the powers government can & cannot exercise, helps predict what governments will do  constitutionalism is linked to limited government o without constitutions, there would be no restrictions on government power Typical State Constitution contains the following: 1. A Preamble 2. Bill of Rights 3. Outline of Structure and Powers of State Government 4. Section Relating to how the Constitution can be Amended #1 PREAMBLE  preamble = the introduction >> “We the people…” – begins the US Constitution Preamble  the importance: it’s a statement about the purpose of government and where the authority of government comes from, the preamble is like the philosophy of the government POLS 207 2nd Edition  Where does the authority come from? – we the people #2 BILL OF RIGHTS  In general, the Bill of Rights outlines the protections to individual freedom & guarantees of liberty  examples: freedom of speech, assembly, exercise of religion, jury trial, due process  these same protections in the federal gov. constitution are repeated in state constitutions  state constitutions usually include additional rights and freedoms NOT found in the US constitution  Equal Rights Amendment was not ratified in US Constitution (but most state constitutions include it!) o equal gender rights, ban on gender discrimination #3 STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT  1. Describes the powers of the Executive (Governor), Legislature, and Courts  2. Describes the structure of the Executive Branch (& other branches) o bicameral Legislatures in all states except one o only unicameral Legislature is Nebraska  3. Describes the organization and powers of local governments o local governments in counties, cities, etc. are described in a state constitution #4 AMENDING STATE CONSTITUTION  state constitutions are amended more frequently than the US Constitution o at least once every other year o in order to make a constitution last, you need a way to change/amend it  Several ...

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