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Governor of Texas

Governor of Texas

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The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

's government and the commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the state's
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 military forces
Texas National Guard
The Texas National Guard consists of the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard. The Guard is administered by the adjutant general, an appointee of the governor of Texas. The Constitution of the United States specifically charges the National Guard with dual federal and state...

. The governor
Governor (United States)
In the United States, the title governor refers to the chief executive of each state or insular territory, not directly subordinate to the federal authorities, but the political and ceremonial head of the state.-Role and powers:...

 has the power to either approve or veto
Veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

 bills
Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....

 passed by the Texas Legislature
Texas Legislature
The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Texas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The Legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin...

, and to convene the legislature. The governor may grant pardon
Pardon
Clemency means the forgiveness of a crime or the cancellation of the penalty associated with it. It is a general concept that encompasses several related procedures: pardoning, commutation, remission and reprieves...

s in cases other than impeachment
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 (but only when recommended by the Board of Pardons and Paroles) or in the case of treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

, with permission by the legislature.

Compared to the governors of other U.S. states, the governorship of Texas has been cited by Slate magazine and liberal commentator Molly Ivins as a fairly weak office. In some respects it is the Lieutenant Governor of Texas
Lieutenant Governor of Texas
The Lieutenant Governor of Texas is the second-highest executive office in the government of Texas, a state in the U.S. It is the second most powerful post in Texas government because its occupant controls the work of the Texas Senate and controls the budgeting process as a leader of the...

, who presides over the state Senate, who is a more powerful political figure able to exercise greater personal prerogatives.. Current Governor Rick Perry
Rick Perry
James Richard "Rick" Perry is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to full...

 served as Lieutenant Governor from 1999-2000, under George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

.

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). The 1861 secessionist constitution set the term start date at the first Monday in the November following the election. The 1866 constitution, adopted just after the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, 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." The Reconstruction constitution of 1869 removed the limit on terms, and to this day, Texas is one of 14 states with no gubernatorial term limit
Term limit
A term limit is a legal restriction that limits the number of terms a person may serve in a particular elected office. When term limits are found in presidential and semi-presidential systems they act as a method to curb the potential for monopoly, where a leader effectively becomes "president for...

. The present constitution of 1876 shortened terms back to two years, but a 1972 amendment increased it again to four years.

The governor is sworn-in on the third Tuesday of January every four years along with the lieutenant governor
Lieutenant Governor of Texas
The Lieutenant Governor of Texas is the second-highest executive office in the government of Texas, a state in the U.S. It is the second most powerful post in Texas government because its occupant controls the work of the Texas Senate and controls the budgeting process as a leader of the...

, so Perry and current Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst
David Dewhurst
David Dewhurst is the 41st and current Lieutenant Governor of Texas, serving under Governor Rick Perry since January 21, 2003. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as Texas Land Commissioner from 1999 to 2003. Dewhurst announced on July 18, 2011, that he was running for the...

 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
Allan Shivers
Robert Allan Shivers was a Texas politician who led the conservative faction of the Texas Democratic Party during the turbulent 1940s and 1950s...

) or eight years total service (Bill Clements
Bill Clements
William Perry "Bill" Clements, Jr. was the 42nd and 44th Governor of Texas, serving from 1979 to 1983 and 1987 to 1991. Clements was the first Republican to have served as governor of the U.S. state of Texas since Reconstruction...

, in two non-consecutive four-year terms). Current Governor Rick Perry
Rick Perry
James Richard "Rick" Perry is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to full...

, who took office in December 2000, has now surpassed both these records, becoming the first Texas governor to serve two consecutive four-year terms. When Perry won the general election on November 2, 2010, he joined Shivers, Price Daniel
Price Daniel
Marion Price Daniel, Sr. , was a Democratic U.S. Senator and the 38th Governor of the state of Texas. He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to be a member of the National Security Council, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and Assistant to the President for Federal-State...

, and John Connally
John Connally
John Bowden Connally, Jr. , was an influential American politician, serving as the 39th governor of Texas, Secretary of the Navy under President John F. Kennedy, and as Secretary of the Treasury under President Richard M. Nixon. While he was Governor in 1963, Connally was a passenger in the car in...

 as the only Texas governors to be elected to three terms.
In case of a vacancy in the office of governor, the lieutenant governor becomes governor. 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.

See also