Governor of Texas
|Governor of Texas|
|Residence||Texas Governors Mansion|
|Term length||Four years, no term limit|
|Inaugural holder||James Pinckney Henderson
|Website||Office of the Governor|
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature. The governor may grant pardons in cases other than impeachment (but only when recommended by the Board of Pardons and Paroles) or in the case of treason, with permission by the legislature.
Compared to the governors of other U.S. states, the governorship of Texas is a fairly weak office. The Lieutenant Governor of Texas, who presides over the state Senate, is considered a more powerful political figure, being able to exercise greater personal prerogatives.12 Current Governor Rick Perry served as Lieutenant Governor from 1999-2000, under George W. Bush.
The state's first constitution in 1845 established the office of governor, to serve for two years, but no more than four years out of every six (essentially a limit of no more than two consecutive terms).3 The 1861 secessionist constitution set the term start date at the first Monday in the November following the election.4 The 1866 constitution, adopted just after the American Civil War, increased terms to four years, but no more than eight years out of every twelve, and moved the start date to the first Thursday after the organization of the legislature, or "as soon thereafter as practicable."5 The Reconstruction constitution of 1869 removed the limit on terms,6 and to this day, Texas is one of 14 states7 with no gubernatorial term limit. The present constitution of 1876 shortened terms back to two years,8 but a 1972 amendment increased it again to four years.9
The gubernatorial election is held every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November and does not coincide with the presidential elections. The governor is sworn in on the third Tuesday of January every four years along with the lieutenant governor, so Perry and current Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst both began new terms on January 18, 2011, which end on January 20, 2015.
Despite the lack of term limits, no Texas governor in the 19th or 20th centuries ever served more than seven and a half consecutive years in office (Allan Shivers) or eight years total service (Bill Clements, in two non-consecutive four-year terms). Current Governor Rick Perry, who took office in December 2000, has now surpassed both these records, becoming the first Texas governor to serve three consecutive terms. When Perry won the general election on November 2, 2010, he joined Shivers, Price Daniel, and John Connally as the only Texas governors elected to three terms. In case of a vacancy in the office of governor, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.10 This rule was added only in a 1999 amendment, prior to which the lieutenant governor only acted as governor, except during the time of the 1861 constitution, which said that the lieutenant governor would be styled "Governor of the State of Texas" in case of vacancy.11
- Suellentrop, Chip (2000-01-05). "Is George W. Bush a "Weak" Governor?". Slate Magazine - Explainer. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- Ivins, Molly; Lou Dubose (2000). Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush. New York: Vintage Books. pp. xii–xiii. ISBN 0-375-75714-7.
- 1845 Const. Art V sec 4
- 1861 Const. art V sec 12
- 1866 Const. art V sec 4
- 1869 Const. Art IV sec 4
- Executive Branch retrieved 23-October-2008
- TX Const. Art IV sec 4
- Texas Politics - The Executive Branch. Texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
- TX Const. art IV sec 16 graf d
- 1861 Const art V sec 12
- List of Governors of Texas
- List of Texas Governors and Presidents
- List of Presidents of the Republic of Texas
- List of Lieutenant Governors of Texas