Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Kel Seliger, District 31

For Immediate Release
February 8, 2005
Contact: Christy Bertolino
(806) 374-8994

Seliger Files Bill to Alleviate Problem of Unproductive Constables

AUSTIN, Texas--State Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) filed Senate Joint Resolution 14 (SJR 14) today, proposing a constitutional amendment to modify the conditions under which a county may abolish and reinstate the office of constable in a county or precinct. "This bill addresses a problem that has arisen in Potter and Randall counties, and more recently in other parts of the state, where taxpayers are paying for a constable who is not fulfilling his constitutional duty to the community," said Seliger.

If approved by the voters, SJR 14 would give counties and voters more control in the decision to abolish or reinstate the office of constable by allowing the commissioner's court to call for an election in which the people of that precinct or county make the decision to abolish the office. If the office is abolished and there is a desire to reinstate it, the commissioner's court can call a vote of the people of the county or precinct to reinstate the office after five years. If the citizens of the county or precinct wish to reinstate the office before five years have passed, a minimum of 10 percent of the citizens of that county or precinct may present a petition to the commissioner's court. The court would then call for an election to reinstate the office.

Current law only allows the county commissioner's court to declare the office of constable dormant after it is vacant for seven years.

"SJR 14 will relieve the taxpayers of the burden of an unproductive constable's office while allowing the rest of the hard-working constables across the state to continue to serve their communities and be left alone to perform their constitutional duties," Seliger said.

Seliger was sworn in to the Texas Senate to serve the citizens of Senate District 31 on March 2, 2004 to complete the term of former Senator Teel Bivins of Amarillo. He was reelected to serve a full, four-year term on November 4, 2004. The district spans 26 counties from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin and includes Amarillo, Midland, Odessa and Big Spring.