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why did the texas constitution establish a plural executive

Government and Politics in the Lone Star State

Tenth Edition

Chapter 6

The Texas Executive

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Learning Objectives

6.1 Trace the evolution of the Texas governor from a strong unified executive to a plural executive.

6.2 Assess what qualifies an individual to serve as governor, common career patterns that have led to the governorship, and select benefits of the office.

6.3 Explain the legislative, budgetary, appointive, judicial, and military powers of the Texas governor.

6.4 Evaluate the informal resources of the Texas governor for advancing public policy and political objectives.

6.5 Differentiate the leadership styles of recent Texas governors.

6.6 Describe the duties and responsibilities of the other offices of the executive branch in Texas.

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A Historical Perspective on the Executive Function in Texas (1 of 4)

Governors Enjoyed Stronger Constitutional Powers from 1836 to 1866.

Elected offices of comptroller and state treasurer added in 1861

Granted line-item veto powers in 1866

1869 Constitution

Influenced by Jacksonian democracy

Created a plural executive

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A Historical Perspective on the Executive Function in Texas (2 of 4)

Expanded Powers in the Twentieth Century

Salary could be raised by the legislature (1954)

Term of office expanded to four years (1972)

Given removal power over persons appointed to boards and commissions (1980)

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A Historical Perspective on the Executive Function in Texas (3 of 4)

The Constitutional Framework for the Plural Executive

Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution of 1876 created the executive branch.

In Texas, the governor appoints more than 200 policy-setting boards over state agencies and universities, but the boards appoint the individuals responsible for day-to-day administration.

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A Historical Perspective on the Executive Function in Texas (4 of 4)

The Potential for Conflict in the Plural Executive

Members of the plural executive

Operate independently of the governor

Can claim their own electoral mandates

May clash with the governor over policies

Potential for conflict increases in a two-party state

Makes it difficult to pursue coordinated policies

Does serve to constrain the power of the governor

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Journal 6.1

Do you think Texas should replace its plural executive with an executive structure similar to that of the president, where the lieutenant governor would be elected as a team with the governor and the governor would have a cabinet composed of appointed agency heads?

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Historical Overview of the Men and Women Who Have Served as Governor (1 of 3)

Qualifications and Backgrounds of Texas Governors

Constitutional requirements

At least thirty years old, U.S. citizen, and resident of Texas for five years

Past governors

Most have been Democrats (not recently), wealthy, educated, middle-aged, white male Protestants.

Many have previous public service.

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Historical Overview of the Men and Women Who Have Served as Governor (2 of 3)

Impeachment and Incapacitation

Impeachment

Charges brought by the House of Representatives

Removal follows a trial and conviction in the Senate.

Texas does not have a voter-initiated recall process.

The lieutenant governor replaces the governor if the office is vacated.

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Historical Overview of the Men and Women Who Have Served as Governor (3 of 3)

The Salary and “Perks” of the Governor’s Office

In 2015, the governor of Texas was paid a salary of $150,000 a year.

Perks of the governor’s office

Mansion and staff

State-owned planes and cars

Security detail

Travel expenses

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The Powers of the Governor (1 of 5)

Legislative Powers

State of the State address

Establish a policy agenda

Special sessions

Last for up to thirty days each

Governor controls the agenda.

Veto power

Overridden by a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate

Can veto bills up to twenty days after the close of a legislative session

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State of the State Address

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Governor Greg Abbott delivered his first State of the State Address in which he outlined his legislative priorities to a joint session of the Texas Legislature in February of 2015. The governor and other state dignitaries are seen here applauding veterans during his address.

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Table 6-2 Comparison of the Formal/Institutional Powers of the Governors (1 of 2)

Strong (4.0 and above)Strong (4.0 and above)Strong (4.0 and above)Strong (4.0 and above)
Alaska (4.1)Maryland (4.1)New York (4.3)Utah (4.2)
Hawaii (4.1)Massachusetts (4.3)Pennsylvania (4.0)West Virginia (4.1)
Strong (3.5–3.9) ModeratelyModerately Strong (3.5–3.9)Moderately Strong (3.5–3.9)Moderately Strong (3.5–3.9)
Arizona (3.8)Idaho (3.5)Minnesota (3.9)Oregon (3.5)
California (3.5)Illinois (3.8)Nebraska (3.8)Tennessee (3.9)
Colorado (3.9)Iowa (3.7)New Jersey (3.8)Washington (3.6)
Connecticut (3.9)Kansas (3.7)North Dakota (3.9)Wisconsin (3.7)
Delaware (3.7)Kentucky (3.5)Ohio (3.9)Wyoming (3.8)
Florida (3.6)Michigan (3.9)

SOURCE: Based on Thad Beyle, “The Governors;” Multistate Associates Incorporated, “2014 Governors and Legislatures;” National Council of State Legislatures; and National Governors Association, “Governors Political Affiliations and Terms of Office.”

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Meg (M) – where is table 6-1?

Table 6-2 Comparison of the Formal/Institutional Powers of the Governors (2 of 2)

Moderate (3.0–3.4)Moderate (3.0–3.4)Moderate (3.0–3.4)Moderate (3.0–3.4)
Alabama (3.2)Maine (3.1)New Hampshire (3.0)South Carolina (3.0)
Georgia (3.2)Mississippi (3.3)New Mexico (3.3)South Dakota (3.0)
Indiana (3.1)Missouri (3.1)Oklahoma (3.0)Texas (3.2)
Louisiana (3.4)Montana (3.3)Rhode Island (3.3)Virginia (3.3)
Weak (2.9 and below)Weak (2.9 and below)Weak (2.9 and below)Weak (2.9 and below)
Arkansas (2.9)Nevada (2.8)North Carolina (2.9)Vermont (2.8)

SOURCE: Based on Thad Beyle, “The Governors;” Multistate Associates Incorporated, “2014 Governors and Legislatures;” National Council of State Legislatures; and National Governors Association, “Governors Political Affiliations and Terms of Office.”

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Signing Ceremonies

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Governors use a variety of public occasions to cultivate public support for their legislative programs, including signing ceremonies that are usually held in the governor’s Reception Room on the second floor of the Capitol. To bring special attention to the newly enacted legislation, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law at Red’s Indoor Range in Pflugerville bills permitting Texans to carry concealed handguns on college campuses and openly carry them virtually everywhere in the state.

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The Powers of the Governor (2 of 5)

Budgetary Powers

Weaker budgetary authority

Primary authority rests with the legislature and Legislative Budget Board.

The Texas governor has line-item veto over appropriations bills.

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The Powers of the Governor (3 of 5)

Appointive Powers

Selects members to serve on more than 200 boards and commissions

Subject to Senate confirmation

Many serve six-year staggered terms.

Limited ability to remove appointees

Filling vacancies

State, district, appellate courts; U.S. Senate seats; and all statewide offices except the lieutenant governor

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The Powers of the Governor (4 of 5)

Judicial Powers

Appoints members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles

Grants executive clemency

Thirty-day stay of execution

Commutation of a death sentence to life in prison

Full or conditional pardons

Responsible for ordering state officials to carry out extradition proceedings

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The Powers of the Governor (5 of 5)

Military Powers

Acts as commander-in-chief of the state’s military forces

Appoints the adjutant general

Mobilizes the national guard to protect lives and property, and to keep the peace

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Informal Resources of the Governor (1 of 4)

The Governor’s Staff

Organization reflects leadership styles.

Highly centralized or may seek greater contact with advisors

Affects the flow of information to the governor

Chosen for their media and public relations skills or policy expertise

Help develop policy agendas and legislative strategies

Function as the governor’s surrogates

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Staff Can Really Make a Difference

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A governor’s success is dependent, in part, on a competent staff capable of assisting the governor in meeting expanded responsibilities and increased expectations from the general public, the legislature, administrative agencies, the media, and interest groups. Governor-elect Greg Abbott, center left, is seen here in the Old Supreme Court Room in the Capitol introducing his key staff members prior to the 2015 legislative session.

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Table 6-3 The Governor’s Leadership Resources

Formal Constitutional Powers
1. Veto legislation
2. Exercise a line-item veto over the state budget
3. Call and set the agenda for special legislative sessions
4. Make recommendations on the budget
5. Propose emergency budgetary transfers when the legislature is not in session
6. Appoint hundreds of members of policymaking boards and commissions, subject to Senate confirmation
7. Remove his or her own appointees from boards, with Senate approval
8. Fill vacancies in U.S. Senate seats and certain elective state offices
9. Proclaim acts of executive clemency, including stays of execution, for convicted criminals
10. Mobilize the Texas National Guard to protect lives and property during natural disasters and other emergencies
Informal Resources
1. Governor’s electoral mandate
2. A large staff to help develop and sell policy proposals
3. Ability to communicate to the public through the mass media
4. Public’s perception and opinions about the governor’s job performance
5. The governor’s political party and relationships with legislative leaders
6. Support and mobilization of interest groups

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Informal Resources of the Governor (2 of 4)

The Governor and the Mass Media

Communicate policy objectives to the general public to mobilize public opinion

Strategies

Press conferences, news leaks, and trial balloons

Use of public opinion polls

Staging pseudo-events to emphasize issues

Use of radio and television

Twitter alerts

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Informal Resources of the Governor (3 of 4)

The Governor and the Political Party

Historically

Governors built policy coalitions around factions within the Democratic Party.

Gained little power from serving as head of the party

Under the two-party system

Parties provide greater resources and support.

Republicans have sought the support of social conservatives within the party.

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Informal Resources of the Governor (4 of 4)

The Governor and Interest Groups

Solicit endorsements and campaign contributions from groups

Pursue policy initiatives and legislation that benefit key support groups

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Leadership Styles of Recent Texas Governors (1 of 4)

Ann Richards (1991–1995)

Activist stance

Populist policy agenda called for a “new Texas”

Pragmatic approach to legislation, seeking compromise

Staff given greater responsibility to pursue policy objectives

Filled role as Texas’s chief ambassador

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Leadership Styles of Recent Texas Governors (2 of 4)

George W. Bush (1995–2000)

Kept a low public profile in his first year

Often worked behind the scenes with legislators to reach compromise

Met frequently with Republican and conservative Democratic legislators

Faced opposition over school property tax reform and school vouchers

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Leadership Styles of Recent Texas Governors (3 of 4)

Rick Perry (2000–2015 )

Gave no clear direction in first term

Vetoed a record eighty-two bills in 2001

Took advantage of Republican majority

Oversaw partisan redistricting battle

Rocky relationship with lawmakers

Washington “outsider”

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The State’s Longest-Serving Governor

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Governor Rick Perry was governor from 2000 to 2015, longer than any of his predecessors. His public career included a six-year stint as a state representative, eight years as the state’s agriculture commissioner, and almost two years as lieutenant governor prior to assuming the governorship when George Bush won the presidency in 2000.

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Leadership Styles of Recent Texas Governors (4 of 4)

Greg Abbott (2015– )

Conservative record from time on Texas Supreme Court and as attorney general

More restrained than Perry at first

Mostly successful in first legislative session

Critical of federal government policies and advocate of efforts to curtail federal power

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Other Offices of the Plural Executive (1 of 8)

Lieutenant Governor

Dan Patrick holds the office.

Primarily a legislative office with few administrative duties

Considered by some to be the most powerful state office

Presides over the Senate

Chairs the Legislative Budget Board

Succeeds the governor if the governor dies, is incapacitated, or is removed from office

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Other Offices of the Plural Executive (2 of 8)

Attorney General

Ken Paxton holds the office.

Serves as the state’s chief legal officer

Represents the state in litigation

Enforces antitrust and consumer protection laws

Provides for child support collection

Creates advisory opinions on the legality of actions by state and local agencies or officials

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Other Offices of the Plural Executive (3 of 8)

Comptroller of Public Accounts

Glenn Hegar holds the office.

Serves as the state’s tax administrator, accounting officer, and revenue estimator

Assumed the state treasurer’s duties in 1995

Provides a revenue estimate of state income to guide budget preparation

Must certify that the state budget falls within revenue projections

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Other Offices of the Plural Executive (4 of 8)

Commissioner of the General Land Office

George P. Bush holds the office.

Manages state-owned lands and mineral rights

Revenues are earmarked for the Permanent University Fund and Permanent School Fund.

Responsible for the Veterans Land Program

Develops environmental programs

Plans for dealing with oil spills

Preventing soil erosion along Texas beaches

Don’t Mess with Texas!

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Other Offices of the Plural Executive (5 of 8)

Commissioner of Agriculture

Sid Miller holds the office.

Statutory officer who regulates agriculture

Administers consumer protection laws

Weights and measures

Packaging and labeling

Marketing

Supports agricultural research and education programs

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Other Offices of the Plural Executive (6 of 8)

Secretary of State

Carlos Cascos holds the office.

Appointed by the governor

Grants charters to corporations

Processes the extradition of prisoners

Administers state election laws

Reviews local and county election procedures

Develops statewide voter registration policy

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Other Offices of the Plural Executive (7 of 8)

Elected Boards and Commissions

Texas Railroad Commission

Three members; each one elected statewide to staggered six-year terms

Oversees railroad safety and oil, natural gas, and mining industries

Often used as a stepping stone to higher state office

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Other Offices of the Plural Executive (8 of 8)

Elected Boards and Commissions

State Board of Education

Fifteen members, each one elected from a single-member district

Key responsibilities

Translating legislative mandates into public policy

Investment of money in the Permanent School Fund

Oversight of textbook selection and curriculum standards

Administration of the Texas Education Agency

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Shared Writing 6.6

Consider the discussion in “Combs, Patterson Spar Over Ruling on State Incentives.” Policy conflicts within the plural executive are not limited to those between the governor and other statewide elected officials. For a variety of reasons, officials other than the governor have become involved in controversial issues, such as the use of state funding for Formula 1 racing. When conflict emerges between state officials of the plural executive, is the governor likely to become involved? What, if anything, might be the consequences of such conflicts between statewide elected officials?

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Photo Credits

Page 166: Office of the Governor Greg Abbott; 168: Eric Gay/AP Images; 175: Eric Gay/AP Images; 176: Ralph Barrera/AP Images; 180: Dborah Cannon/AP Images; 182: Eric Gay/AP Images; 185: David Breslauer/AP Images; 187: Eric Gay/AP Images; 187: Harry Cabluck/AP Images; 190: Harry Cabluck/AP Images; 193: Eric Gay/AP Images; 196: The Railroad Commission of Texas; 198: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division [LC-DIG-ggbain-25234]

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