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It is said that the Lt. Governor of Texas has more power than the Governor. How could this be?

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Uniquely, the state of Texas vests significant power in in its lieutenant governor, giving them unique legislative responsibilities. This is in significant contrast to lieutenant governors of other states, whose position is largely relegated to acting in an absent governor's stead, similar to a vice president. It should be stressed...

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Uniquely, the state of Texas vests significant power in in its lieutenant governor, giving them unique legislative responsibilities. This is in significant contrast to lieutenant governors of other states, whose position is largely relegated to acting in an absent governor's stead, similar to a vice president.

It should be stressed that, constitutionally and formally, the governor has more power than the lieutenant governor and does hold a higher office. Like in other states, the lieutenant governor is still, first and foremost, considered a deputy to the governor. The idea that the lieutenant governor has more power is simply a common speculation. However, it is not unfounded. The unique legislative powers that the lieutenant governor of Texas possesses perhaps do make them more powerful in practice if not in name.

The lieutenant governor is president of the state senate, allowing them to more or less dictate every aspect of legislative procedure. They have considerable sway over every committee within the senate, appoint the chairs of each, and dictate which will be receiving bills for review. By virtue of their office, the lieutenant governor is also a member of several other bodies. It is because of this considerable access and connection, as opposed to actual constitutional power, that the lieutenant governor is said to have more power than the governor.

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In a strange quirk of the Texan political system, the state constitution stipulates that the governor of Texas cannot be governor if they are not physically present in the state. So if the governor is out of the state for any length of time, then the lieutenant (lt.) governor effectively takes over. This provision of the Texas state constitution gives the lt. governor a remarkable degree of power, though only for a relatively short period of time. If the governor should die in office, then the lt. governor will automatically take over.

It should be remembered that the lt. governor doesn't derive their authority from the Texas constitution but from the substantive powers awarded to them by the state legislature. These powers confer on the recipient a wide degree of discretion, which means that the office of lt. governor can be pretty much what the holder wants it to be. Lt. governors can choose to be active or passive, but in most cases it's the former, as the office, as well as being powerful in its own right, can also be a springboard to higher things.

It's in the lt. governor's interactions with the state senate that their powers can be seen at their fullest extent. The lt. governor appoints all the committee chairs of the committees in the senate, determines where the bills are going to be sent, and to what committees and the timing. Every bill has to pass through committee before it ends up on the floor of the senate for a vote. And it's the lt. governor who decides which committee to send a bill to, and this gives them extraordinary power.

Even when a bill finally makes it out of committee, the lt. governor gets to decide when it's voted on. So at every stage of the legislative process, the lt. governor enjoys power and influence.

However, it should be stressed that because such powers are conventional rather than constitutional, they can easily be taken away. In that sense, one could say that the lt. governor, though substantively more powerful than the governor of Texas, is at the same time weaker in the formal sense.

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In his book, The Power of the Texas Governor: Connally to Bush, Brian McCall gives a historical account of the division of powers between the governor and the lieutenant governor in Texas. During the Reconstruction period that followed the Civil War, the fourteenth governor, Edmund J. Davis, ran a highly controversial and corrupt administration in which he arbitrarily removed elected officials who had been part of the Confederacy, replaced them with his own choices, and imposed martial law at will. The writers of the Texas Constitution of 1876 has Davis's example fresh in their minds when they decided to limit the power of the governor and to distribute some of his former powers between the lieutenant governor and the speaker. They also ensured that various state offices were now directly elected rather than appointed by the governor.

The governor and lieutenant governor are far more equal in Texas than they are in most states. Which of them actually wields more power depends on the specific circumstances of the administration, particularly what the governor wants to accomplish and whether they need to pass legislation to do it. The lieutenant governor's extensive powers to control appointments and the passage of bills in the state senate make it very difficult for the governor to pass legislation without the lieutenant governor's support.

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The reason that some people say this is because the Lt. Governor has a great deal of power with respect to the legislative branch of the state government.  The Lt. Governor does not have more power than the Governor when it comes to the excutive branch, but does have more power with regard to the legislative branch.

The reason for this is that the Lt. Governor has the right to appoint the members of the legislative committees in the state Senate.  This is a function that is usually given to the leaders of the parties in the houses of a legislature.  In addition, the Lt. Governor even has the right to assign bills to the various committees.  This kind of power goes well beyond the power wielded by most governors in other states, let alone Lt. Governors.  Finally, the Lt. Governor serves as the chair of the Legislative Budget Board.  These are very significant powers and they help to explain why it might be said that the Lt. Governor has more power than the Governor.

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