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Agency History

Agency History

The governor of Texas is the chief executive officer of the state, elected by the citizens every four years. The duties and responsibilities of the governor include serving as commander-in-chief of the state’s military forces; convening special sessions of the legislature for specific purposes; delivering to the legislature at the beginning of each regular session a report on the condition of the state, an accounting of all public money under the governor’s control, a recommended biennial budget, an estimate of the amounts of money required to be raised by taxation, and any recommendations he deems necessary; signing or vetoing bills passed by the legislature; and executing the laws of the state. The governor can grant reprieves and commutations of punishment and pardons, upon the recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and revoke conditional pardons. He appoints numerous state officials (with the consent of the senate), fills vacancies in state and district offices (except vacancies in the legislature), calls special elections to fill vacancies in the legislature, fills vacancies in the United States Senate until an election can be held, and serves as ex officio member of several state boards.

The office of governor was first established by the Constitution of 1845 and superseded the office of president of the Republic of Texas. The position now exists under authority of Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution of 1876 and Texas Government Code, Chapter 401. To be elected governor, a person must be at least 30 years old, a United States citizen, and a resident of Texas for at least five years preceding the election. In 1972, the term of office was extended from two to four years, effective in 1975. Since 1856 the governor has had the use of the Governor’s Mansion.

In 2014 there were 248.5 full time equivalent employees in the Office of the Governor. Nineteen divisions outside of the Executive Office assist the governor in carrying out his functions: Scheduling and Advance; Office of the First Lady; Administration; Appointments; Legislative; Communications; Budget, Planning, and Policy; General Counsel; Internal Audit; Constituent Communication; Criminal Justice; Economic Development and Tourist Development; Governor’s Commission for Women; Office of Financial Accountability; Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities; Texas Film Commission; Texas Music Office; Texas Workforce Investment Council; and Office of State-Federal Relations.

The Economic Development and Tourism Division originated in 2003, when several functions of the abolished Texas Department of Economic Development and Texas Aerospace Commission were transferred to a division under the Texas Governor’s Office (Senate Bill 275, 78th Legislature, Regular Session). The division encourages and pursues business expansion and attracts business relocation prospects for the state of Texas, with specific subordinate offices focusing on small businesses, military installations, and aerospace, aviation, and defense businesses. It operates the Texas Economic Development Bank, which provides financial incentives to businesses expanding or relocating to the state of Texas, and makes capital funds available to in-state businesses for economic development projects. Finally, the Division also promotes Texas as an attractive travel destination through a multimedia marketing campaign and strategic partnerships with convention and visitors bureaus, local chambers of commerce, private travel-related organizations, and associations.

(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001);, accessed on August 3, 2015; the contents of the records themselves; and the Texas Governor’s Office website during Governor Perry’s term, accessed via the TRAIL Web Archive on August 3, 2015.)

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