According to the constitution of the state of Texas, the governor must deliver the State of the State address at the start of each regular legislative session. Specifically, this provision is under Article 4, Section 9 of the Constitution. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the term “commencement”, which is used in the section to mean the start of the session, does not necessarily mean the first day of the session (Drake & Marsicano, 2018). Rather, the governor can address the legislature on any chosen day within the first few days of the regular session.
The concept of ‘message power’ is an important aspect of the governor’s address during the session. By definition, message power implies the ability of the speech to promote a harmonious relationship with the legislature (Drake & Marsicano, 2018). This ability depends on the timing of the message on volatile issues and the support of the committee chairs in the house. This concept started back in 1846 when Governor J. Pickney Henderson sought to give information by message to the new legislation concerning the state of the newly annexed state (Council of State Governments, 2019). During this period, the state did not have a tax system, public schooling system, judicial districts, or elected members such as US Congressmen and the comptroller.
When the Constitution was eventually developed for the new state, Article 4 Section 9 required the governor to give the legislature the message recommending the measures necessary to fix these issues (Drake & Marsicano, 2018). Currently, the state of the state address continues to be an important part of the government and requires the governor to inform the legislature, and thus the population, about the prevailing situation such as taxation, public health issues, schooling, and others.
From a personal perspective, the tradition of providing a state of state address as per the Constitution of Texas is important to residents. Specifically, this became a critical issue during the Covid-19 pandemic. Like other governors across the country, the Texas governor was expected to show his efficiency in establishing the appropriate public health measures (Lopez, Stadelmann & Sterken, Jr., 2020). The state legislature expected the governor to inform the state about such things as the programs in place and plans for effectively combating the pandemic that has been causing deaths since late 2019.
The concept of message power in this case is very important. In a situation like the current Covid-19 pandemic, it is not just about establishing harmony between the state legislature and the executive. Rather, the governor must assure the residents that their healthcare is a priority and that the right and effective measures are in place to control the situation.
Consideration of Opposing Arguments
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that there are other views and perceptions about the state of the state address. Some individuals state that the address, along with the concept of message power, is no longer necessary because the harmony between the state legislature and the governor is not in the interest of the residents (Drake & Marsicano, 2018). What residents want to know is that their issues are addressed and that their tax money is used for the improvement of their living standards.
Based on this review, it is clear that the state of the state address is not only important for developing harmony between the two arms of the state government. Instead, it is necessary as a source of information for the residents who want to know how the state is managed and how their affairs and issues are addressed. Therefore, the message power is still a critical tool in the state as it determines the governor’s rating as well as the extent of assuring the residents that their expectations are met.
As per the conclusion, it is hereby recommended that the current and future governors ensure that they are thorough in their state of the state address. In addition, they should not just address the legislature but also ensure that they provide the right information to the residents and assure them of their safety and wellbeing.
Council of State Governments. (2019). The Book of the States 2019. CSG.
Drake, A., & Marsicano, C. (2018). Attack and Parry: An Examination of Gubernatorial Rhetoric and Agenda Setting for Higher Education in Texas, 2000-2015. Texas Education Review. Web.
Lopez, E., Stadelmann, M., & Sterken, Jr., R. E. (2020). Uncovering Texas politics in the 21st Century. UT Tyler Press.