Examiningthe Texas Constitution
Theconstitution comes as one of the most important documents for anycountry. It underlines a collection or set of basic principles andestablished precedents in line with which a particular organizationor country is governed. The United States being made of numerousstates naturally has the overall constitution of the entire country,as well as the individual states’ constitution. More often thannot, the individual states’ constitution plays more or less thesame role as the United States constitution, which is the case forthe Texas constitution.
Functionsof a Constitution
Theconstitution is generally the foundation of the rule of the state andan embodiment of the basic laws of the country. In addition, itoutlines the functions and powers of different organs of thegovernment, as well as the relations between these organs. Thegovernment is generally made up of three organs including thejudiciary, legislature and the executive, each of which is supposedto accomplish distinctive functions and check the excess of theothers. The magnitude of their powers and functions is clearly speltin the constitution.
TheUnited States Constitution has clearly spelt out its functions in thepreamble. First, it aims at forming a considerably more perfect Unionthrough providing governance across the varying state boundaries.
Secondly,it establishes justice through establishing the rule of law andlegislations. The third function revolves around the safeguarding ofdomestic tranquility through enforcing the law by the police. Fourth,it offers a common defense through establishing a framework fornational defense such as military and standing army that wouldprotect the country from external aggressors (Brown29). Fifth, it fosters general welfare of the people throughgoverning for the common good. Lastly, it safeguards the benefits orblessings of liberty to the current and future generations.
Reflectionin the Current Texas Constitution
Itmay be acknowledged that the Texas constitution was aimed atcomplementing the United States constitution rather than go againstit. Indeed, it is the document that outlines the structure andfunctions of the government in the State of Texas. Its functions aremore or less the same as those of the United States constitution withscholars underlining the fact that it was heavily influenced by thefederal constitution. Key among its functions are explaining thefunctions of varied institutions through delegation of power,averting the possibility of concentration of power on one organ,legitimate the state institutions by explaining the sources of theirpowers, as well as t limiting the powers that outline the citizen’srights (Brown34). Underlining the influence of the federal constitution on theTexas constitution is the fact that it outlines the notion thatpolitical power comes from people, power is still divided among threeorgans, there is a system of checks and balances restricting power,and there is a declaration of individual rights to restrict power.
Perhapsthe least attained principle is the fifth one pertaining to thesafeguarding of the general welfare of the people. It is noted thatthe constitution usually caters for the likes and preferences of thespecial interest groups particularly those that have sufficientfinancial muscle as to finance the election of an individual thatwould safeguard their interests. This has raised concerns thatpowerful lobbyists and interest can skew public policy to narrowprivate interest instead of the broader public interests (Jillson49).
Whythe Regular Amendment of the Texas Constitution
Inspite of being one of the oldest state constitutions in the country,the Texas constitution has undergone numerous amendments. This may beattributed to the outdated policies that it espoused since itsinception, as well as the ease with which amending this constitutionis. For instance, a large number of the provisions were written inthe course of a rural, frontier era. Indeed the 19thCentury writers of the Texas constitution incorporated manyanti-government restrictions so as to respond to Reconstruction Erathat was coming to an end (Brown39). These restrictions are not only outdated but also prevent theprogress of the state, in which case amendments have to be made so asto customize it to the modern day requirements.
Problemsof the current Texas Constitution
Someof the key problems plaguing the Texas constitution include itscumbersomeness and failure to address the needs of the citizens. Itis noted that the constitution has more than 98,000 words and has hadmore than 467 amendments, while the United States constitution isonly 6500 words and has only had 27 amendments (Newell et al 49).Scholars opine that the constitution amendment procedures favorparticular parties and the lobbies that have financial muscles. Inaddition, its comprehensive and complicated detail makes it immenselycumbersome. These excessive details should have been left to thelesser statutory laws that are passed by the legislature and signedby the government (Jillson 45). In addition, there is the fragmentedexecutive branch as indicated by the fact that the governor does nothave any control over the state authorities rather he sharesauthority with them.
Resolvingthe Identified Problems
Unfortunately,the current ideas pertaining to solving the problems have centered onmaking persistent amendments every time a problem is identified. TheTexas constitution has one of the highest number of amendments and isseen as the most complicated. Essentially, there have also been callsto rewrite it in its entirety so as to “start on a clean platter”and eliminate the complexity (Jillson 59).
Typesof Special Interests
TheTexas constitution is plagued by varied special interests includingeconomic, religious, ideological, and civil rights interests.However, the most active in calling for changes in its constitutionare the economic special interest groups and the civil rightsinterest groups.
InterestingSpecial Interest Groups
Perhapsone of the most conspicuous players in calls for reform of theconstitution is the Texas Oil and Gas Association, whose members takeup over 90% of the total amount of oil and gas that is produced inTexas and operate an immense proportion of the state’s gasprocessing capacity and pipeline mileage (Newell et al 59). Perhapsthe most fundamental element about this interest group is the factthat it comes with immense expertise, talent, money and numbers, inwhich case it is capable of lobbying the legislators against makingamendments that would limit or harm their business and explorationprospects in the country (Newell et al 59).
Necessityof a Constitutional Convention
Aconstitutional convention underlines a gathering that aims at writinga new constitution or even revising the existing one. More often thannot, constitutional conventions are called so as to create theinitial constitution pertaining to a political unit or evencompletely replace an existing constitution. In the case of Texas, itis imperative that another constitutional convention is called in soas to rewrite the existing one (Newell et al 69). This is based onthe fact that the current shortcomings of the constitution cannot berectified by simple amendments. Already, the document is complicatedas it is, yet its problems are mounting and far from being entirelyeliminated. Essentially, having a constitutional convention that willallow for the re-writing of the entire document and ensuring that thedetails are incorporated in other statutes would be imperative(Newell et al 68).
Brown,Lyle C. PracticingTexas Politics.Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
Jillson,Calvin C. AmericanGovernment: Political Development and Institutional Change.New York: Routledge, 2013, Print
Newell,Charldean., David Prindle & James Riddlesperger. TexasPolitics.New York: Cengage Learning, Jan 1, 2012. Print