Texas state government is divided into executive, legislative, and judicial branches under the Texas Constitution adopted in 1876. The chief executive is the Governor, whose term is for four years. Other elected state officials with executive responsibilities include the Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Commissioner of the General Land Office, and Commissioner of Agriculture. The terms of those officials are also four years. The Secretary of State and the Commissioner of Education are appointed by the Governor. Except for making numerous appointments and calling special sessions of the Legislature, the Governor’s powers are limited in comparison with those in most states.
The Governor’s office welcomes comments and concerns, which are relayed to government officials who may offer assistance. Send a message through the webform at: https://gov.texas.gov/contact
Or call the Citizen’s Opinion Hotline: 1 (800) 252-9600
The Texas Legislature is made up of both a house and a senate, and meets every two years. The Texas Legislature has 181 members: 31 in the Senate, who are elected to four-year overlapping terms, and 150 in the House of Representatives, who are elected to two-year terms. Regular sessions convene on the second Tuesday of January in odd-numbered years, but the governor may call special sessions. Article III of the Texas Constitution deals with the legislative branch.
The judiciary of the state consists of nine members of the State Supreme Court; nine members of the Court of Criminal Appeals; 80 of the courts of appeals; 443 of the state district courts, including 13 criminal district courts; 494 county court judges; 821 justices of the peace; and more than 1,400 municipal court judges. Judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and courts of appeals are elected to 6-year, overlapping terms. District court judges are elected to 4-year terms.
In addition to its system of formal courts, the State of Texas has established 17 Alternative Dispute Resolution Centers. The centers help ease the caseload of Texas courts by using mediation, arbitration, negotiation and moderated settlement conferences to handle disputes without resorting to more costly, time-consuming court actions.
Centers are located in Amarillo, Austin, Beaumont, Bryan, Conroe, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Kerrville, Lubbock, Paris, Richmond, San Antonio and Waco.