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Texas Politics - The Constitution
Comparing homestead exemption in the states Comparing homestead exemption in the states
homestead exemption
4.6    Remaining Articles

The other articles of the Constitution of 1876 cover a range of items many of which would seem more appropriately covered in legislative statutes than in the organic legal document of the state's democratic government.

These articles can be grouped into three categories:

  • Essential features of any constitution - disposition of property under previous legal systems (Spanish and Mexican Land Titles) and impeachment of public officers
  • Detailed organizational and policy specifications - articles on Education, Taxation and Revenue, Counties, Municipal Corporations, Railroads, Private Corporations, and Public Lands and Land Office
  • General provisions - a laundry list of items all contained in Article XVI (General Provisions) dealing with the Legislature, personal debts, fences, competitive bidding on state contracts, and more.

The articles detailing organizational and policy specifications, to be sure, include some important provisions. However, they also include minutiae like permitting the legislature to aid Gulf Coast counties in the construction of sea walls! The many "General Provisions" listed in Article XVI (spanning fifty-seven subsections, many of which have been repealed) almost seem like afterthoughts that should have been included in the other articles of the Constitution.

Even here though, the framers did in fact include some historically important provisions, like the protection against homestead foreclosure (Sections 49-51) and provision for community property between married couples (Section 52).

Homestead and community property provisions may properly be placed in an article containing residual provisions not easily categorized. But the General Provisions article also contains important provisions that really should have been included elsewhere.

Section 44, amazingly, requires the Legislature to define the duties and provide for the election of a County Treasurer and County Surveyor for all counties in the state. This seems an odd placement, given the existence of a whole article on counties, and a separate provision for county tax assessors and tax collectors in the article on Taxation and Revenue.

Texas Politics:
© 2009, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin
3rd Edition - Revision 115
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