The Texas Plural Executive

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain the plural executive of Texas Government
  • Know the offices and officeholders of the plural executive
  • Explain the roles of the plural executive

Texas Plural Executive

Article 4 of the Texas Constitution describes the executive department (branch) of Texas. Texas utilizes a “plural executive” which means the power of the Governor are limited and distributed amongst other government officials. In other words, there is not one government official in Texas that is solely responsible for the Texas Executive Branch. Below are some of the members of the Texas Plural Executive and their roles:

  • Lieutenant Governor: Serves as the presiding officer of the Texas Senate, first in line of succession for Governor, member of the Legislative Redistricting Board, Chair of the Legislative Budget Board, elected to 4 years terms by the public with no term limits. Dan Patrick is the current Texas Lieutenant Governor.[1]
  • Attorney General: Serves as the lawyer for the state of Texas, including representing the state on civil matters, and responsible for the interpretation of the constitutionality of laws. The Attorney General is elected by the people to 4 year terms with no term limits. The current Texas Attorney General is Ken Paxton. [2]
  • Commissioner of the General Land Office: The Commissioner is elected by the people to one 4 year term. George P. Bush (son of Jeb Bush) runs the Texas General Land Office, which manages and administers mineral leases and state lands. Even though this office is part of the Executive Branch, the Office of the Commissioner of the General Land Office is authorized by Article 14, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution.[3]
  • Comptroller of Public Accounts: The Comptroller serves as the chief tax collector and accounting officer. This office is also responsible for certifying the biennial budget of the state. Glenn Hegar currently serves as the Texas Comptroller and is elected by the people to 4 years terms with no term limits.[4]
  • Texas Agriculture Commissioner: The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is a state agency within the state of Texas, which is responsible for matters pertaining to agriculture, rural community affairs, and related matters.TDA was established by the 13th Texas Legislature in 1907. TDA is headed by the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, one of four heads of state agencies which is elected by statewide ballot (and the only one where the provision for statewide election is mandated by legislative action, not enshrined in the Texas Constitution) for a four-year term, concurrent with the gubernatorial election (prior to 1978, the term was two years before a statewide amendment in 1974 extended it to four years).The TDA regulates all fuel pumps in Texas to ensure drivers get the correct quality and amount of fuel, regulates all weights and measures devices, such as grocery store scales and retail price scanners, to ensure consumers are charged advertised prices, and regulates pesticide use and application from residential to commercial use. Sid Miller is the current Agriculture Commissioner. [5]
  • Secretary of State: The Texas Secretary of State is appointed by the Texas Governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate. The Secretary of State serves as the chief election officer (meaning the office ensures that county governments abide by election rules), officially attests the signature of the Texas Governor on official documents, and advises the Governor on Texas border and Mexican affairs. Rolando Pablos is the current Texas Secretary of State. [6]
  • Other members of the Texas Plural Executive include: Railroad Commission, State Board of Education, Elected/Appointed Boards and Commissions, Appointed Agency Directors.