Article XVI, Section 30 of the Texas Constitution

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As amended November 3, 2009:

(a) The duration of all offices not fixed by this Constitution shall never exceed two years.

(b) When a Railroad Commission is created by law it shall be composed of three Commissioners who shall be elected by the people at a general election for State officers, and their terms of office shall be six years. And one Railroad Commissioner shall be elected every two years. In case of vacancy in said office the Governor of the State shall fill said vacancy by appointment until the next general election.

(c) The Legislature may provide that members of the governing board of a district or authority created by authority of Article III, Section 48-e, Article III, Section 52(b)(1) or (2), or Article XVI, Section 59, of this Constitution serve terms not to exceed four years.

(d) The Legislature by general or special law may provide that members of the governing board of a hospital district serve terms not to exceed four years.

Editor Comments

As adopted in 1876, this section read: "The duration of all offices not fixed by this Constitution shall never exceed two years."

It has been amended five times. The most recent amendment concerned board members of emergency services districts.

Attorney Steve Smith

Recent Decisions


Historic Decisions

  • Green v. Stewart, 516 S.W.2d 133, 136 (Tex. 1974) ("It is our opinion that the decision of this court in Aldine Independent School District v. Standley, supra, and our refusal of the application . . . impliedly overruled Donges v. Beall, supra. It is our opinion that the rule of Aldine and Dunbar is the better one, and also that the Legislature intended to follow the rule of those cases in defining an employee in the Civil Service Act. The definition from the Civil Service Act excludes one who is authorized by statute to perform in his own right governmental functions involving some exercise of discretion. One who acts in his own right is, in the words of Aldine and Dunbar, largely independent of the control of others.")
  • San Antonio I.S.D. v. Water Works Bd. of Trs., 120 S.W.2d 861, 866 (Tex.Civ.App.–Beaumont 1938, ref'd) ("But it is insisted that the creation of the Board of Trustees, whose terms of office might extend for a maximum period of 40 years, was in violation of the Constitution, Art. 16, §§ 30, 30a . . . . The contention is not sound. The members of the Water Works Board of Trustees are not constitutional officers. A municipal corporation is invested with two kinds of powers or functions, governmental and proprietary. Governmental functions are exercised in the administration of the affairs which affect the public generally, and are performed by virtue of powers conferred upon the city as an agency of the state.")
  • City of Denison v. Municipal Gas Co., 3 S.W.2d 794, 795-96 (Tex. 1928) ("Prior to the adoption of the amendment to section 30, art. 16, on December 21, 1894, the Legislature had already created a Railroad Commission, and provided that it should be composed of three members, and that their tenure of office should be . . . . The effect and purpose of the amendment was to remove such governmental agency, when created, and charged by law with the arduous and responsible duties of regulating freight and passenger tariffs and the correction of abuses by railroads, from the two years' tenure, and to provide that the tenure of office of the members of such body should not end at the same time.")
  • Kimbrough v. Barnett, 55 S.W. 120, 122 (Tex. 1900) ("[T]here can be no doubt that a school trustee of an independent school district in this state is a county officer, as was held in the case of Hendricks v. State (Tex. Civ. App.) 49 S.W. 705. It is urged by the appellant's counsel that the position of trustee, if an office, is not embraced in the meaning of article 16, § 30, of the constitution. To support this contention, it is conceded that an office of a municipal corporation . . . . Appellant strenuously urges that the former provision commits to the legislature authority to create such offices as it may deem fit, and confer upon them any length of term, without regard to the limitation of the constitution before cited.")

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