TheAmendment Process for the Texas Constitution
TheUS is considered to have one of the most advanced constitutionalframeworks that many countries, across the world, have been trying toreplicate (Newell, Prindle, and Riddlesperger 39). It is easier toassume that the individual states in the country would also adoptsimilar models as the federal government. However, Texas receivescriticism for having a rigid constitution that is continually amendedto fulfill the changing needs of the society. It also has a differentamendment process in comparison to most states, making it difficultto make changes.
Rulesfor Creating Amendments in Texas
Thestate presents only one way to alter their laws. The proposal forchanges in the state`s legal framework requires a special or regularsession where two-thirds of the legislature vote to bring the changesto the citizens (Newell, Prindle, and Riddlesperger 54). This rulerequires about one hundred House members and twenty-one senators tovote for the referendum. The legislature will then decide on the dayfor the referendum and the governor, at this point, cannot veto sucha proposed amendment. Each county in the state will get to publishthe proposed changes in their newspapers to create awareness aboutthe bill and educate on its objectives. The referendum occursalongside the general elections to minimize the necessary funds(Newell, Prindle, and Riddlesperger 54). For the bill to pass, morethan half of the votes are required (half plus one) and the governorwill officially ratify the law.
The1970`s were a time when there was a need for reforms in the statelaws. It was during the early phase of this period that thelegislature got the right to hold a constitutional convention. Therewas a detailed analysis of the then constitution, which served as abasis for the new laws in 1974. However, the proposal did not get tothe citizens as there was an opposition arising from two of itsprovisions, which include the right to work that received oppositionfrom various unions and racetrack betting opposed by the Bible Beltconservatives (Newell, Prindle, and Riddlesperger 58).
In1975, a Senate Joint Resolution was the primary vehicle foraccomplishing changes in the state`s legal structure. Some of the keyprovisions of this new law included yearly legislative sessions, amodernization of the state government that would bring massivechanges and a streamlined judicial system different from the oldcomplex system (Newell, Prindle, and Riddlesperger 58). There werealso a couple of modifications in the taxation system with anintroduction of taxes in petroleum refining and relief on propertytaxes. The constitutional changes proposed would have brought manychanges in Texas but ultimately failed.
Oneof the primary reasons for the failure of the new legal structure,even before the referendum, was the introduction of red herrings inthe document (Newell, Prindle, and Riddlesperger 58). Stuit and Doan(16) define a red herring as an issue that is intended to mislead ordivert someone from the main point. The provisions on the right towork, for example, were introduced to reduce the popularity of thebill and to ensure it fails. These new rules were submitted by thegovernor and the county officials who feared their jobs would beaffected.
Ibelieve that it is better to have a broad constitution, which isflexible enough that allows governments to address issues as theyarise instead of having a rigid legal structure. Too many amendmentsin the legal document will affect its originality. It is thusimportant for the Texas government to introduce a more flexibledocument than to keep amending the previous document.
Newell, Charldean, David F Prindle,and James W Riddlesperger. "TexasPolitics 2015-2016."Cengage Learning, 2015. Print.
Stuit, David, and Sy Doan. "Schoolchoice regulations: red tape or red herring."Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 2013: 15-19. Print