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Lieutenant Governor of Texas

Lieutenant Governor of Texas

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The Lieutenant Governor of Texas is the second-highest executive office
Executive officer
An executive officer is generally a person responsible for running an organization, although the exact nature of the role varies depending on the organization.-Administrative law:...

 in the government 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...

, a state in the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 It is the second most powerful post in Texas government because its occupant controls the work of the Texas Senate
Texas Senate
The Texas Senate is the upper house of the Texas Legislature. There are 31 members of the Senate, representing 31 single-member districts across the state with populations of approximately 672,000 per constituency. There are no term limits, and each term is four years long. The Senate meets at the...

 and controls the budgeting process as a leader of the Legislative Budget Board.

Under the provisions of the Texas constitution
Texas Constitution
The Constitution of the State of Texas is the document that describes the structure and function of the government of the U.S. State of Texas.Texas has had seven constitutions: the constitution of Coahuila y Tejas, the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas, the state constitutions of 1845,...

, the Lieutenant Governor is President of the Texas Senate
Texas Senate
The Texas Senate is the upper house of the Texas Legislature. There are 31 members of the Senate, representing 31 single-member districts across the state with populations of approximately 672,000 per constituency. There are no term limits, and each term is four years long. The Senate meets at the...

. By the rules of the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor establishes all special and standing committees, appoints all chairpersons and members, and assigns all Senate legislation to the committee of his choice. The Lieutenant Governor decides all questions of parliamentary procedure
Parliamentary procedure
Parliamentary procedure is the body of rules, ethics, and customs governing meetings and other operations of clubs, organizations, legislative bodies, and other deliberative assemblies...

 in the Senate. He or she also has broad discretion in following Senate procedural rules.

The Lieutenant Governor is an ex officio member of several statutory bodies. These include the Legislative Budget Board, the Legislative Council, the Legislative Audit Committee, the Legislative Board and Legislative Council, which have considerable sway over state programs, the budget and policy. The Lieutenant Governor is also a member of the Legislative Redistricting Board (together with the Speaker of the House, Attorney General, Comptroller, and Land Commissioner), which is charged with adopting a redistricting plan for the Texas House of Representatives, Texas Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives after the decennial census if the Legislature fails to do so.

In the case of a vacancy in the Lieutenant Governor's office, the Senate elects one of its members to act as President of the Senate until the next statewide office election, in effect becoming the Lieutenant Governor. A Senator elected as presiding officer in this way retains his district seat and the voting privileges entailed with his Senate election.
The Lieutenant Governor is sworn-in on the third Tuesday every four years, the same as the Governor.

The Lieutenant Governor is sworn into office on the third Tuesday every four years in January, and 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...

 has been the 41st Lieutenant Governor of Texas since January 21, 2003. Dewhurst began his third term on January 18, 2011, which ends on January 20, 2015.

The Lieutenant Governor assumes the powers of the Governor of Texas
Governor of Texas
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...

 when the governor is out of the state or otherwise unable to discharge the office. The Lieutenant Governor is elected separately from the Governor, rather than on the same ticket; it is therefore possible for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to be from different political parties (which was the case during Governor 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....

's first term and also during 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...

's two nonconsecutive terms). The Lieutenant Governor becomes Governor if the elected Governor resigns or dies while in office (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...

 took office upon George W. Bush's ascendance to the office of President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 on December 21, 2000).

Compared to Other Lieutenant Governors


Texas is one of the few states that vests significant power in the office of Lieutenant Governor, making it among the most influential. By contrast, the Lieutenant Governor position in other states has few (if any) legislative responsibilities, akin to the Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

. The consequence of a strong Lieutenant Governor of Texas is that the Governor of Texas is weaker than other states' Governors.

In 2010, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst was absent from a meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors Association; he was quoted as saying "I’m too busy to go to any conferences."http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/04/us/04lieutenant.html

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