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Capitol Watch: Proposed constitutional amendments and an announcement
By Larry Phillips
Sep 11, 2017
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Since 2003, I have had the privilege of representing the citizens of District 62 in the Texas House of Representatives. Serving the people of District 62 has been an honor that I have enjoyed immensely.  However, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2018.  Thank you to my wife, Robin, and our children Sidney, his wife Rachel, Henry, and Meribeth, and to the citizens of Delta, Grayson, and Fannin Counties for your unwavering support and prayers over the years.  Together I think we have helped make Texas a better place.

My office will remain open, and my staff and I will be available to serve you throughout the remainder of my current term lasting through 2018.  Again, I sincerely thank everyone for their support, as I look forward to continuing to serve our community outside of political office and spend a little more time at home.

This week’s column is the third in a series outlining the seven proposed constitutional amendments on which Texas voters will decide on November 7, 2017.  These amendments were joint resolutions that were passed during the recent legislative session; however, because they change the Texas Constitution, they need state-wide voter approval before they can take effect.  I will be providing information about the proposals in the order in which they will appear on the ballot.   This information is taken from a report by the House Research Organization, a nonpartisan agency that provides information to the legislature. 

PROPOSITION 3 (SJR 34)

"The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate after the expiration of the person's term of office."

Proposition 3 would amend the Texas Constitution to create an exception to the requirement that all officers within the state must continue to perform the duties of their offices until their successors are duly qualified. The exception would apply to officers appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate who did not receive a salary. The period for which an appointed officeholder would be required to continue to perform the officeholder's duties would end on the last day of the first regular session of the Legislature that began after the expiration of the officer's term.

Supporters say Prop 3 would address concerns about some gubernatorial appointees being held over in their positions long after their terms have expired. Amending the Texas Constitution to place a limit on how long an appointee whose term had expired could continuing serving in office would ensure that these non-salaried volunteer positions were rotated among qualified Texans. Placing the limit at the end of a regular legislative session would allow the Texas Senate to hold confirmation hearings on replacement appointees.

Opponents say Prop 3 could result in important appointed offices remaining vacant if a successor had not been duly qualified within the time limits of the proposal. The Office of the Governor has many appointed positions to fill, and the existing constitutional provision allows flexibility for appointees to continue serving until qualified replacements can be found.

You can contact my office by writing to P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910 or by emailing me at larry.phillips@house.texas.gov.    My district office phone number is (903) 891-7297.