#Constitution

January 6, 2021

The events of this day will go down in history. How will we remember them? That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Texas Standard: May 9, 2019

A showdown between congress and the executive branch over the Mueller report. Many calling it a constitutional crisis. But is it, really? In the fight over control of the Mueller report, it may come down to the courts to decide whether the executive branch can justifiably assert executive privilege and stop congress from getting an unredacted copy. We’ll explore what’s at stake for the separation of powers. Also, a new report spots a growing trend: the upwardly mobile mexican migrant, we’ll take a look. And the budget premium smartphone: an oxymoron? Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: October 23, 2017

Today marks the start of early voting across Texas, but for what? Never fear, we’ll have real world explanations of what’s up for grabs at the polls. Grab a pencil and a small piece of paper and play along as we decide how we’re gonna cast our ballots in the constitutional contests now officially underway. Also, Texas may be one of the top states for executions, but it also leads in exonerations. The price the state is paying for wrongful convictions. And the most powerful super computer at any university in the US is in Texas is about to become one of the nation’s fastest too. So why are they planning for its replacement already? Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard :

Texas Standard: March 15, 2017

Two Texas lawmakers may have discovered a cure for what ails our political process. The catch: someone’s gotta pay for the gas. Also all across the US the numbers grow to nearly 500 so-called sanctuary cities and jurisdictions. That number may be about to shrink: lawmakers hear from everyday Texans on a bill to draw the line in TX, we’ll explain. And at the rodeo, more than just fun and games: leather chairs and wheeler dealers–we’ll peek behind the curtain at the big show in Houston. Plus can a single citizen make a difference in politics? A texan puts that question to the test. Those stories and so much more, today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: January 27, 2017

Sanctuary cities versus Washington: when it comes to the Constitution, who trumps who? We’ll explore. Also it’s not just President Trump, Governor Abbott has issued a deadline to a county sheriff: back off your sanctuary plans, or I’ll pull funding and maybe your job to boot. Can he really do that? Plus the rise in emergency rooms- as new urgent care centers sprout across Texas, one woman offers her own experience as a warning. And we’ve heard the political promise, more American jobs. Are you ready for that interview? 5 tips, so your body language won’t blow it. Plus the week in politics and much more…turn it up y’all, its Texas Standard time:

Texas Standard: December 7, 2016

Not since 1787 has the US had a constitutional convention. Now, what was once considered the unthinkable looks possible. The story today on the Texas Standard

The problems of prognostication. Politics: you’re not alone. We’ll look at forecasting through an unlikely lens.

Also a new Texas rule to require burial of fetal remains–for those seeking an abortion, what this means as a practical matter.

They’re calling it the flooding capitol of the nation. It’s also set to become the third largest city in the US. As development continues, can a flood czar help? Or is it too late?

What You Might Not Know About the Texas Constitution

If you want to hold public office in Texas, you have to believe in God. You cannot serve even as dog catcher – if it’s an elected office, you must believe in God.

Given the long history we have had of con artists, and scofflaws, carpetbaggers, and white-collar criminals holding public office around the state, this may seem hard to believe.

But it is right there in the Texas constitution. Plain as day.

Section 4 of the Texas Bill of Rights says that if you wish to hold elected office in Texas you must “acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.”

There is no requirement respecting any specific religion. Nothing says a person has to be Baptist or Catholic or Mormon, but it is clear, “No atheists need apply.”

And this would presumably rule out agnostics, too, since they are eternal doubters and could not, with confidence, say that they believe in a Supreme Being. This is just one of the unusual dimensions of the Texas Constitution that few people know about.

Texas protects individual rights more than most states.

In Texas, credit card companies cannot garnish your wages to collect on a bad debt.

Texas is exceptionally protective of debtors in bankruptcy cases, too – especially if you actually own anything worth losing.

If your house is paid for – even if it’s worth $2 million – you get to keep it. If your house sits on 200 acres in the country, you get to keep that. If you have a big, bad, fully decked out pick-up, and it’s paid for, you get to keep it.

Finally, you get to keep two firearms. I don’t know why. I suppose to help you protect your property from pesky bill collectors.

Most Texans seem to believe that Texas has a constitutional right to secede from the U.S. when it feels like it.

It does not. This is a myth.

However, Texas does have the right to divide itself into two, three, four or five states. The only advantage would be to give us 10 senators instead of two.

I don’t know what advantage that would be, since eight more senators would be about as useful as a bucket of water to a drowning man.

But Texas would not be Texas if it were divided. Such plans have actually been discussed.

According to the Handbook of Texas, one plan wanted to divide the state along the Colorado River, with the new territory south and west to be called Lincoln and the part north and east to be called Texas.

Another plan proposed dividing us into three states. These would be called Jefferson, Texas, and Matagorda.

None of these plans ever made it out of committee. I suppose the legislators knew that had the good people of Texas gotten wind of it, they would have gotten a long Texas rope, and strung them up from a live oak.

W.F. Strong is a Fulbright Scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. At Public Radio 88 FM in Harlingen, Texas, he’s the resident expert on Texas literature, Texas legends, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Whataburger (with cheese) and mesquite smoked brisket.