While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' COURT

Dick Smith

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' COURT. During the Republic of Texas the county board was composed of the chief justice (county judge) and the justices of the peace of the county; under the constitutions of 1845, 1861, and 1866, it was composed of the chief justice and four elective commissioners; and under the Constitution of 1869, of any three of the five justices of the peace of the county. The county commissioners' court or county board, as established by the Constitution of 1876, was composed of the county judge, as presiding officer, and four commissioners elected from precincts for two-year terms. A constitutional amendment adopted in 1954 changed the term of office to four years. The commissioners' court has none of the functions of a court but is the general governing body of the county. It establishes a courthouse and jail, appoints numerous minor officials such as the county health officer, fills vacancies in the county offices, lets contracts in the name of the county, builds and maintains roads and bridges, administers the county's public welfare services, performs numerous duties in regard to elections, sets the county tax rate, issues bonds, adopts the county budget, and serves as a board of equalization for tax assessments.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials (Austin: Texas Department of Community Affairs, 1988). Dick Smith, The Development of Local Government in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1938).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Dick Smith, "COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' COURT," accessed May 25, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/muc06.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on September 25, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...