Legislative Immunities

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section you’ll be able to

  • Understand the speech and debate immunities granted Texas legislators
  • Understand the arrrest immunities granted Texas legislators

Introduction

The Texas Constitution grants two types of immunities to Texas steate legislators. One protects speech and debate. The other prevents or limits arrest during the legislative session.

Speech and debate immunities

The Texas Constitution (Article III, Section 21) grants Texas state legislators a fundamental protection of free speech and debate.  This immunity protects legislators from punitive executive or judicial action.  The intent is to allow lawmakers to work independently and unimpeded by the threat of intervention from the other branches of government in the discharge of their legislative duties.

Arrest Immunities

Texas state legislators are also protected from arrest traveling to and from and during legislative sessions. Exceptions include treason, felony, or breach of the peace.