More About State Government
Last updated 6/14/2022 at 3:58pm
In answer to last week’s questions I posed, here are some of the answers:
• The governor of Texas serves for four-year terms. This was changed in 1972 when John Connally was the last governor to serve a two-year term.
• The state Legislature meets every two years and is made up of 31 senators and 150 house members. The pay for legislators is $600 per month.
• The basic document of Texas government is the Texas Constitution which was written in the late 1800s.
• The chief executive officer of the state of Texas is the governor. The Texas governor is somewhat weaker than many other state heads due to the fact that the Texas governor cannot choose other members of the executive branch of government. For example, the Texas attorney general is elected on his/her own, as are the lieutenant governor, state comptroller and tax collector.
The governor does have certain other powers, however. The governor has the right to appoint several agency heads such as the Texas Environmental Quality Agency, The Public Utility Commission and head of the Texas Health Department.
Other powers of the governor which are considerable include the ability to veto bills passed by the Legislature, the ability to call the Legislature into session and limit their consideration only to subjects submitted to them by the governor.
An interesting, historical story concerning the governor’s right to veto occurred when the Legislature successfully impeached Governor Ferguson. Governor Ferguson was impeached by the state Legislature during a called session. Governor Ferguson attempted to defend his impeachment by claiming the Legislature could only consider matters of the special session submitted by the governor. He pointed out he had not submitted the issue of his impeachment. The Legislature ignored the argument and impeached Governor Ferguson anyway. Governor Ferguson had the last laugh; however, he simply supported his wife “Ma” Ferguson who was elected as Texas’ first female governor.
Some say the Texas governor’s real power is simply having the bully pulpit in which he can by force of his personality influence serious legislative matters such as abortion, gun control and federal programs which concern the various states. Our current Governor Abbott has demonstrated several of the powers of the governor by refusing to accept federal funds for health care and for spending 4 billion dollars assigning State Troopers and State National Guardsmen to the border.