Like the United States Constitution, the Texas Constitution contains a Bill of Rights. Unlike the federal constitution, which gained its Bill of Rights upon the adoption of the first ten constitutional amendments, each and every constitution of the State of Texas has featured a Bill of Rights as its first article. The subject matter of the Texas Bill of Rights includes protections of important individual rights that substantially overlap the federal Bill of Rights, though it also provides significant additional protections not expressly provided by the federal counterpart. The Texas Bill of Rights also includes broad statements of political theory.
The Texas Bill of Rights has varied over time in significant ways, including significant changes during the early years of the history of the State and relatively recent amendments to address important issues such as the rights of and compensation for crime victims (art. I, secs. 30 & 31), the definition of marriage (art. 1, sec. 32), and the access and use of public beaches (art. I, sec. 33). A significant aspect of the project of this blog will be to consider the various provisions of the Texas Bill of Rights, including the historical context of their initial adoption, differences in phrasing as compared to their federal counterparts, and amendments over time.