More fun with the Texas Constitution

The San Antonio Express-News is reporting (“Senate candidate Jones defends residency in two places“). Elizabeth Ames Jones’ candidacy for Texas Senate is being challenged her current job (Texas Railroad Commissioner) carries a constitutional mandate that she live in the “Capital of the State.”

Article 4, Section 23: of the Texas Constitution says:

The Comptroller of Public Accounts, the Commissioner of the General Land Office, the Attorney General, and any statutory State officer who is elected by the electorate of Texas at large, unless a term of office is otherwise specifically provided in this Constitution, shall each hold office for the term of four years.  Each shall receive an annual salary in an amount to be fixed by the Legislature; reside at the Capital of the State during his continuance in office, and perform such duties as are or may be required by law.

The problem? The term “Capital of the State” is not defined anywhere in the document. In fact, “capital” is used mainly in reference to expenses and punishment.

The Texas Constitution may effectively create a ban on a certain state officers running for the Texas Legislature (unless they want to represent Austin). Was that anyone’s intention? What does living in the Capital of the State include Round Rock? The Texas Attorney General gets to try to sort this out.


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