Proposed Amendment in the Texas Legislature
The Texas legislature, just like all other Legislative bodies, encounters heavy task load of democracy representation in the context of society’s interests, conflict reconciliations, law-making processes and oversight. Legislatures under these conditions should be provided for with adequate meeting time by the law to accomplish these numerous responsibilities. The Texas constitution is however designed in a manner that provisions part-time meeting time by legislatures of relatively short 140 days every other year. The citizen legislators therefore encounter a tremendous challenge of a limited meeting time year round to handle numerous increasingly multifaceted bills. This limits the ability of the legislatures to fulfill their representational responsibilities fully.
Texas Constitution Article 3, Section 5 titled Meetings; Order Of Business, provides for when the legislature meet. Subsection (a) states that “the legislature shall meet every 2 years as provided by the law and when convened by the Governor”. Subsection (b) provides for the order of business during this meeting time. It subdivides the 140 days as follows; first 30 days devoted to the bill’s introduction and resolutions, and acting on any emergency appropriations and other emergency matters as may the Governor may submit in special messages. The next 30 days are set apart for the various legislative committees of the House to hold meetings, hear and consider the pending bills and resolutions as well as the emergency matters. The remainder of the 140 session is set apart for the legislature to act upon the pending bills and resolutions and other emergency matters that the Governor may submit. In my opinion, Texas Constitution Article 3, Section 5 subsection (a) and (b) should be amended to provide for more time for the Texas Legislature to meet in regular session year round.