Art 5 - Sec 18

Article 5 - JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

Section 18 - DIVISION OF COUNTIES INTO PRECINCTS; ELECTION OF CONSTABLE AND JUSTICE OF THE PEACE; COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT


(a) Each county in the State with a population of 50,000 or more, according to the most recent federal census, from time to time, for the convenience of the people, shall be divided into not less than four and not more than eight precincts. Each county in the State with a population of 18,000 or more but less than 50,000, according to the most recent federal census, from time to time, for the convenience of the people, shall be divided into not less than two and not more than eight precincts. Each county in the State with a population of less than 18,000, according to the most recent federal census, from time to time, for the convenience of the people, shall be designated as a single precinct or, if the Commissioners Court determines that the county needs more than one precinct, shall be divided into not more than four precincts. Notwithstanding the population requirements of this subsection, Chambers County and Randall County, from time to time, for the convenience of the people, shall be divided into not less than two and not more than six precincts. A division or designation under this subsection shall be made by the Commissioners Court provided for by this Constitution. Except as provided by this section, in each such precinct there shall be elected one Justice of the Peace and one Constable, each of whom shall hold his office for four years and until his successor shall be elected and qualified; provided that in a county with a population of less than 150,000, according to the most recent federal census, in any precinct in which there may be a city of 18,000 or more inhabitants, there shall be elected two Justices of the Peace, and in a county with a population of 150,000 or more, according to the most recent federal census, each precinct may contain more than one Justice of the Peace Court. Notwithstanding the population requirements of this subsection, any county that is divided into four or more precincts on November 2, 1999, shall continue to be divided into not less than four precincts.
(b) Each county shall, in the manner provided for justice of the peace and constable precincts, be divided into four commissioners precincts in each of which there shall be elected by the qualified voters thereof one County Commissioner, who shall hold his office for four years and until his successor shall be elected and qualified. The County Commissioners so chosen, with the County Judge as presiding officer, shall compose the County Commissioners Court, which shall exercise such powers and jurisdiction over all county business, as is conferred by this Constitution and the laws of the State, or as may be hereafter prescribed.
(c) When the boundaries of justice of the peace and constable precincts are changed, each Justice and Constable in office on the effective date of the change, or elected to a term of office beginning on or after the effective date of the change, shall serve in the precinct in which the person resides for the term to which each was elected or appointed, even though the change in boundaries places the person�s residence outside the precinct for which he was elected or appointed, abolishes the precinct for which he was elected or appointed, or temporarily results in extra Justices or Constables serving in a precinct. When, as a result of a change of precinct boundaries, a vacancy occurs in the office of Justice of the Peace or Constable, the Commissioners Court shall fill the vacancy by appointment until the next general election.
(d) When the boundaries of commissioners precincts are changed, each commissioner in office on the effective date of the change, or elected to a term of office beginning on or after the effective date of the change, shall serve in the precinct to which each was elected or appointed for the entire term to which each was elected or appointed, even though the change in boundaries places the person�s residence outside the precinct for which he was elected or appointed.
(e) The office of Constable is abolished in Mills County, Reagan County, and Roberts County. The powers, duties, and records of the office are transferred to the County Sheriff.
TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISION
(f) The Legislature by general law may prescribe the qualifications of constables.
TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISION
(g) (Redesignated as Subsec. (f) Nov. 6, 2001.)
TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISION
(h) The commissioners court of a county may declare the office of constable in a precinct dormant if at least seven consecutive years have passed since the end of the term of the person who was last elected or appointed to the office and during that period of time no person was elected to fill that office, or during that period a person was elected to that office, but the person failed to meet the qualifications of that office or failed to assume the duties of that office. If an office of constable is declared dormant, the office may not be filled by election or appointment and the previous officeholder does not continue to hold the office under Subsection (a) of this section or Section 17, Article XVI, of this constitution. The records of an office of constable declared dormant are transferred to the county clerk of the county. The commissioners court may reinstate an office of constable declared dormant by vote of the commissioners court or by calling an election in the precinct to reinstate the office. The commissioners court shall call an election to reinstate the office if the commissioners court receives a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the qualified voters of the precinct. If an election is called under this subsection, the commissioners court shall order the ballot for the election to be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: �Reinstating the office of Constable of Precinct No.___ that was previously declared dormant.� The office of constable is reinstated if a majority of the voters of the precinct voting on the question at the election approve the reinstatement. (Amended Nov. 2, 1954; Subsecs. (a) and (b) amended and (c) and (d) added Nov. 8, 1983; Subsec. (a) amended Nov. 5, 1985, Nov. 3, 1987, and Nov. 7, 1995; Subsecs. (e) and (f) added Nov. 7, 1995; Subsec. (g) added Nov. 4, 1997; Subsec. (a) amended Nov. 2, 1999; Subsec. (e) amended, Subsec. (f) deleted, and Subsec. (g) redesignated as Subsec. (f) Nov. 6, 2001; Subsec. (h) added Nov. 5, 2002.)
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