Mexico the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States. Covering 2,000,000 square kilometres, the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity, the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Puebla, Tijuana and León. Pre-Columbian Mexico dates to about 8000 BC and is identified as one of five cradles of civilization and was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec and Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its politically powerful base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, administered as the viceroyalty of New Spain.
Three centuries the territory became a nation state following its recognition in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. The post-independence period was tumultuous, characterized by economic inequality and many contrasting political changes; the Mexican–American War led to a territorial cession of the extant northern territories to the United States. The Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires, the Porfiriato occurred in the 19th century; the Porfiriato was ended by the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country's current political system as a federal, democratic republic. Mexico has the 11th largest by purchasing power parity; the Mexican economy is linked to those of its 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement partners the United States. In 1994, Mexico became the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is classified as an upper-middle income country by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country by several analysts.
The country is considered both a regional power and a middle power, is identified as an emerging global power. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world for number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mexico is an ecologically megadiverse country, ranking fourth in the world for its biodiversity. Mexico receives a huge number of tourists every year: in 2018, it was the sixth most-visited country in the world, with 39 million international arrivals. Mexico is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G8+5, the G20, the Uniting for Consensus group of the UN, the Pacific Alliance trade bloc. Mēxihco is the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely the Valley of Mexico and surrounding territories, with its people being known as the Mexica, it is believed to be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym for the Aztec Triple Alliance as a result, although it could have been the other way around.
In the colonial era, back when Mexico was called New Spain this territory became the Intendency of Mexico and after New Spain achieved independence from the Spanish Empire it came to be known as the State of Mexico with the new country being named after its capital: the City of Mexico, which itself was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Traditionally, the name Tenochtitlan was thought to come from Nahuatl tetl and nōchtli and is thought to mean "Among the prickly pears rocks". However, one attestation in the late 16th-century manuscript known as "the Bancroft dialogues" suggests the second vowel was short, so that the true etymology remains uncertain; the suffix -co is the Nahuatl locative, making the word a place name. Beyond that, the etymology is uncertain, it has been suggested that it is derived from Mextli or Mēxihtli, a secret name for the god of war and patron of the Mexica, Huitzilopochtli, in which case Mēxihco means "place where Huitzilopochtli lives".
Another hypothesis suggests that Mēxihco derives from a portmanteau of the Nahuatl words for "moon" and navel. This meaning might refer to Tenochtitlan's position in the middle of Lake Texcoco; the system of interconnected lakes, of which Texcoco formed the center, had the form of a rabbit, which the Mesoamericans pareidolically associated with the moon rabbit. Still another hypothesis suggests that the word is derived from Mēctli, the name of the goddess of maguey; the name of the city-state was transliterated to Spanish as México with the phonetic value of the letter x in Medieval Spanish, which represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative. This sound, as well as the voiced postalveolar fricative, represented by a j, evolved into a voiceless velar fricative during the 16th century; this led to the use of the variant Méjico in many publications in Spanish, most notably in Spain, whereas in Mexico and most other Spanish–speaking countries, México was the preferred spelling. In recent years, the Real Academia Española, which regulates the Spanish l
Presidio County, Texas
Presidio County is a county located in the U. S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 7,818, its county seat is Marfa. The county was created in 1850 and organized in 1875. Presidio County is in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas and is named for the ancient border settlement of Presidio del Norte, it is east from the Mexican border. Paleo-Indians Hunter-gatherers existed thousands of years ago on the Trans-Pecos, did not adapt to culture clashes, European diseases and colonization; the Masames tribe was exterminated by the Tobosos, circa 1652. The Nonojes merged with the Tobosos; the Spanish made slave raids to the La Junta de los Ríos, committing cruelties against the native population. The Suma-Jumano tribe sought to align themselves with the Spanish for survival; the tribe merged with the Apache people. Foraging peoples who did not survive the 18th Century include the Chisos, Jumanos, Julimes, Tobosos, Cholomes, Nonojes and Acoclames; the entrada of Juan Domínguez de Mendoza and Father Nicolás López in 1683–84 set out from El Paso to La Junta where they established seven missions at seven pueblos.
In 1683 Father López celebrated the first Christmas Mass observed in Texas at La Junta. In 1832, José Ygnacio Ronquillo was issued a conditional land grant, established the county’s first white settlement on Cibolo Creek. Military obligations forced him to abandon the settlement, sold the land; the Chihuahua Trail connecting Mexico’s state of Chihuahua with Santa Fe, New Mexico opened up in 1839. By 1848 Ben Leaton built Fort Leaton, sometimes called the largest adobe structure in Texas, on the river as his home, trading post, private bastion. Leaton died in debt with the fort passing to the holder of the mortgage, John Burgess. In 1934 T. C. Mitchell and the Marfa State Bank acquired the old structure and donated it to the county as a historic site; the park was opened to the public in 1978. Milton Faver became the county’s first cattle baron. In 1857, he moved his family to Chinati Mountains in the county. Faver bought small tracts of land around three springs-Cibolo, La Morita and established cattle ranches.
He built Fort Cibolo. Presidio County was established from Bexar County on January 3, 1850. Fort Leaton became the county seat; the county was organized in 1875 as the largest county in the United States, with 12,000 square miles. Fort Davis was named the county seat; the boundaries and seat of Presidio County were changed in the 1880s. Marfa was established in 1883, the county seat was moved there from Fort Davis in 1885. In 1854 the army built Fort Davis in northern Presidio County. Fort Davis closed during the Civil War and reopened in 1867; the black population increased to 489. John W. Spencer, a local rancher and trader, found a silver deposit in the Chinati Mountains in 1880 that resulted in the opening of Presidio Mine and the beginning of the company town of Shafter. From 1883 until 1942 the mine produced over 32.6 million ounces of silver. The railroad reached Presidio County in 1882 when the Galveston and San Antonio Railway laid tracks through its northeastern corner. W. F. Mitchell built the first barbed wire fence in the county at Antelope Springs in 1888.
The widespread use of barbed wire resulted in the refinement of cattle breeds, improvement of ranges, innovative use of water supplies. Windmills, water wells, earthen tanks were introduced on Presidio County ranches in the late 1880s. Elephant Butte Dam was built in 1910 on the Rio Grande, creating a large reliable irrigation source for the county; the growth of Presidio County's population in the 1910s reflected the impact of the Mexican Revolution on border life. Refugees migrated to the county from Chihuahua; the United States Army established several posts in the county. Marfa became the headquarters for the Big Bend Military District, in 1917 the Army established Camp Marfa called Fort D. A. Russell, at Marfa to protect the border; as Presidio County entered the 1930s the people faced a population decline. Low silver prices closed Presidio Mine at Shafter. Economic recovery began by 1936. During World War II Presidio County enjoyed economic prosperity as the home for two military installations-Fort Russell and Marfa Army Airfield.
In late January 1918, during a period of tension between the US and Mexico, Texas Rangers and citizens of the village of Porvenir murdered fifteen local Hispanic residents. The economy of the county in 1982 was based on agriculture with 83 percent of the land in farms and ranches. Wagon trains on the Chihuahua Trail reported seeing unexplained lights in the mid 19th Century; the first recorded incident of the Marfa Lights was in 1883 when Robert Reed Ellison and cowhands camped at Mitchell Flats. They thought the lights might have been Apaches, but found no evidence of an Apache encampment. Since that time, the lights continue to appear between Paisano Pass. Speculation and fascination spark imaginations about the source; some say they are caused by car headlights, some say extraterrestrial visitors. One theory is. No one knows for sure. Marfa celebrates with a Mystery Lights Festival every Labor Day. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,856 square miles, of which 3,855 square miles is land and 0.7 square miles is water.
It is the fourth-largest county in Texas by area. Presidio County is triangular in shape a
Presidio is a city in Presidio County, United States. It stands on the Rio Grande, on the opposite side of the U. S.–Mexico border from Ojinaga, Chihuahua. The name originates from the Spanish and means "jail"; the population was 4,167 at the 2000 census, had increased to 4,426 as of the 2010 US census. Presidio is on the Farm to Market Road 170, U. S. Route 67, 18 miles south of Shafter in Presidio County. Presidio is about 250 miles southeast of El Paso, 240 miles southwest of Odessa, 145 miles northeast of Chihuahua City; the junction of the Rio Conchos and Rio Grande at Presidio was settled thousands of years ago by hunting and gathering peoples. By 1200 AD, the local Native Americans had adopted agriculture and lived in small knit settlements, which the Spaniards called pueblos; the first Spaniards came to Presidio in 1535 CE, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his three companions stopped at the Native American pueblo, placed a cross on the mountainside, called the village La Junta de las Cruces.
On December 10, 1582, Antonio de Espejo and his company arrived at the site and called the pueblo San Juan Evangelista. By 1681, the area of Presidio was known as the Junction of the Rivers. Five Jumano towns were located along the Rio Grande to the north of the junction, consisting of permanent houses. In 1683, Juan Sabeata, the chief of the Jumano nation, reported having seen a fiery cross on the mountain at Presidio and requested that a mission be established at La Junta; the settlement in 1684 became known as La Navidad en Las Cruces. The missions La Navidad en las Cruces, San Francisco de los Julimes, San Antonio de los Puliques, Apostol Santiago, Santa María de la Redonda may have been established on the Texas side of the Rio Grande at La Junta. About 1760, a penal colony and military garrison of 60 men were established near Presidio. In 1830, the name of the area around Presidio was changed from La Junta de los Rios to Presidio del Norte. White American settlers came to Presidio in 1848 after the Mexican War.
Among them was John Spencer, who operated a horse ranch on the United States side of the Rio Grande near Presidio. Ben Leaton and Milton Faver, former scalp hunters for the Mexican government, built private forts in the area. During the Mexican Revolution, General Pancho Villa used Ojinaga as his headquarters for operations and visited Presidio on numerous occasions. In 1849, a Comanche raid destroyed Presidio, in 1850, Indians drove off most of the cattle in town. A post office was established at Presidio in 1868, the first public school was opened in 1887. In 1897, President William McKinley appointed George B. Jackson, an African American former buffalo soldier, as customs collector at Presidio, a position he held until his death in 1900. Jackson, a businessman from San Angelo, was considered the "wealthiest colored man in Texas" in the second half of the 19th century; as a result of General Francisco "Pancho" Villa's force's raid and capture of Ojinaga on January 10, 1914, many Mexican army troops and civilians fled to Presidio, seeking safe-haven.
U. S. forces detained 2,000 Mexican refugees in Presidio marching them north 60 miles to Camp Marfa. The refugees would be sent by train to Ft. Bliss. In 1930, the Kansas City and Orient Railway reached Presidio; the population grew from 96 in 1925 to 1,671 in 1988, but the number of businesses declined from 70 in 1933 to 22 in 1988. At the end of 1988, Presidio experienced a population boom, due in part to undocumented immigrants enrolled in the amnesty program; the population in 1990 was 3,422. Despite Presidio's having been occupied continuously since ancient times, the community was incorporated in 1980, with Herb Myers elected as Presidio's first mayor; the 1959 movie Rio Bravo featured the town. In 1986, the Texas Department of Transportation opened a two-lane bridge, connecting Presidio and Ojinaga. By 2019, a second span will be constructed, with the original bridge being rebuilt; the increased bridge capacity is projected to meet higher traffic commercial and agricultural in nature. As of 2007, Presidio's local economy is based upon employment at Presidio Independent School District, United States Customs and Border Protection, local retail businesses.
Presidio was home to several truck-farming operations, focused on onions and cantaloupes. Those operations ceased in the late 1990s. In 2010, Presidio built the world's largest sodium-sulfur battery to provide power when the city's lone line to the United States power grid goes down. Presidio is located at 29°33′41″N 104°21′59″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles, all land. Presidio is located near the confluence of the Rio Grande; the Rio Conchos flows in a northeasterly direction from its source in the Sierra Madre in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Referred to as "La Junta", the two rivers resulted in plentiful water, creating a flood plain, ideal for farming. Coordinates: 29.13444°N 104.37139°W / 29.13444. The population density was 1,620.1 people per square mile. There were 1,541 housing units at an average density of 599.1 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 83.39% White, 0.10% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 15.43% from other races, 0.86% from two or more races.
Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 94.12% of the population. Of the 1,285 households, 49.3%
The Rio Grande is one of the principal rivers in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. The Rio Grande begins in south-central Colorado in the United States and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it forms part of the Mexico–United States border. According to the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total length was 1,896 miles in the late 1980s, though course shifts result in length changes. Depending on how it is measured, the Rio Grande is either the fourth- or fifth-longest river system in North America; the river serves as part of the natural border between the U. S. state of Texas and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas. A short stretch of the river serves as part of the boundary between the U. S. states of New Mexico. Since the mid–20th century, heavy water consumption by farms and cities along with many large diversion dams on the river has left only 20% of its natural discharge to flow to the Gulf. Near the river's mouth, the irrigated lower Rio Grande Valley is an important agricultural region.
The Rio Grande's watershed covers 182,200 square miles. Many endorheic basins are situated within, or adjacent to, the Rio Grande's basin, these are sometimes included in the river basin's total area, increasing its size to about 336,000 square miles; the Rio Grande rises in the western part of the Rio Grande National Forest in the U. S. state of Colorado. The river is formed by the joining of several streams at the base of Canby Mountain in the San Juan Mountains, just east of the Continental Divide. From there, it flows through the San Luis Valley south into the Middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, passing through the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos toward Española, picking up additional water from the San Juan-Chama Diversion Project from the Rio Chama, it continues on a southerly route through the desert cities of Albuquerque and Las Cruces to El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. In the Albuquerque area, the river flows past a number of historic Pueblo villages, including Sandia Pueblo and Isleta Pueblo.
Below El Paso, it serves as part of the border between the United States and Mexico. The official river border measurement ranges from 889 miles to 1,248 miles, depending on how the river is measured. A major tributary, the Rio Conchos, enters at Ojinaga, below El Paso, supplies most of the water in the border segment. Other tributaries include the Pecos and the smaller Devils, which join the Rio Grande on the site of Amistad Dam. Despite its name and length, the Rio Grande is not navigable by ocean-going ships, nor do smaller passenger boats or cargo barges use it as a route, it is navigable at all, except by small boats in a few places. The Rio Grande rises in high flows for much of its length at high elevation. In New Mexico, the river flows through the Rio Grande rift from one sediment-filled basin to another, cutting canyons between the basins and supporting a fragile bosque ecosystem on its flood plain. From El Paso eastward, the river flows through desert. Although irrigated agriculture exists throughout most of its stretch, it is extensive in the subtropical Lower Rio Grande Valley.
The river ends in a sandy delta at the Gulf of Mexico. During portions of 2001 and 2002, the mouth of the Rio Grande was blocked by a sandbar. In the fall of 2003, the sandbar was cleared by high river flows around 7,063 cubic feet per second. Navigation was active during much of the 19th century, with over 200 different steamboats operating between the river's mouth close to Brownsville and Rio Grande City, Texas. Many steamboats from the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers were requisitioned by the U. S. government and moved to the Rio Grande during the Mexican–American War in 1846. They provided transport for the U. S. Army, under General Zachary Taylor, to invade Monterrey, Nuevo León, via Camargo Municipality, Tamaulipas. Army engineers recommended that with small improvements, the river could be made navigable as far north as El Paso; those recommendations were never acted upon. The Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge, a large swing bridge, dates back to 1910 and is still in use today by automobiles connecting Brownsville with Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
The swing mechanism has not been used since the early 1900s, when the last of the big steamboats disappeared. At one point, the bridge had rail traffic. Railroad trains no longer use this bridge. A new rail bridge connecting the U. S. and Mexico was built about 15 miles west of the Matamoros International Bridge. It was inaugurated in August 2015, it moved all rail operations out of downtown Matamoros. The West Rail International Crossing is the first new international rail crossing between the U. S. and Mexico in 105 years. The Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge is now operated by the Brownsville and Matamoros Bridge Company, a joint venture between the Mexican government and the Union Pacific Railroad. At the mouth of the Rio Grande, on the Mexican side, was the large commercial port of Bagdad, Tamaulipas. During the American Civil War, this was the only legitimate port of the Confederacy. European warships anchored offshore to maintain the port's neutrality, managed to do so throughout that conflict, despite occasional stare-downs with blockading ships from the US Navy.
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Texan cuisine is the food associated with the U. S. state of Texas. Texas is a large state, its cuisine has been influenced by a wide range of cultures, including Southern, British, African American, Cajun/Creole, Native American, to a lesser degree and Italian. Tex-Mex refers to a style of cooking that combines traditional Norteño Mexican cuisine adapted to the tastes and kitchen techniques of European Texans. Tex-Mex cooking differs from traditional Mexican cooking by using different proportions or types of ingredients, such as meats, melted cheeses, spices more suited to palates less disposed to piquant flavorings. Tex-Mex cuisine has influenced what is called "Mexican" cuisine in many parts of the U. S. and Europe. Dishes associated with Tex-Mex cooking include guacamole, chile con queso, tostadas with red salsa, tortilla soup, tacos, fajitas, chimichangas, burritos and carne guisada. King Ranch chicken is a popular Tex-Mex casserole made of canned diced tomatoes with green chiles, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, diced bell pepper and chunks or shreds of chicken.
Pan de campo, a Tex-Mex flatbread is the official state bread. Breakfast items include scrambled egg in flour tortilla tacos as migas and huevos con chorizo, huevos rancheros, empanadas of various meats. Entrees are accompanied by pan fried potato and refried beans. Deserts include flan, tres leches cake, fruit sherbets, pralines. Chili is the official state dish. Texas is known for its own variation of chili con carne. Texas chili is made with hamburger-ground beef served alone or with kidney beans or rice, in Frito pie, a dish made with the eponymous Fritos corn chip, invented in Texas and produced by Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay corporation. Frito pie is traditionally made with Fritos, sweet onions, cheese. Other common additional ingredients include sour cream; the first culinary evidence of fajitas, as a cut of meat, the cooking style, the Spanish nickname going back as far as the 1930s in the ranch lands of South and West Texas. During cattle roundups, beef cattle were butchered to feed the hands.
Throwaway items such as the hide, the head, the entrails, meat trimmings such as skirt were given to the Mexican cowboys called vaqueros as part of their pay. Hearty border dishes like barbacoa de cabeza and fajitas or arracheras have their roots in this practice. Considering the limited number of skirts per carcass and that the meat wasn't available commercially, the fajita tradition remained regional and obscure for many years only familiar to vaqueros and their families; the modern "fajitas" were introduced at a county fair in Kyle, Texas in 1969 by Sonny Falcon, who opened an Austin restaurant offering fajitas as a main fare. Fajitas are marinated before grilling in a combination of lime juice and southwestern spices, served on a hot plate splashed with lime juice and eaten in taco style with flour tortillas, grated cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole. Barbecue is a Texas cuisine having characteristics which uniquely distinguish it. Unlike other forms of cooking using pork or other meats, the main barbecue meat is beef.
Beef brisket is the most common barbecue. Other meats smoked sausage and pork or beef ribs accompany barbecue. Techniques and flavors associated with barbecue in Texas show influences of European immigrants Czech and German, as well as Mexican cuisines. Barbecue has inspired many styles of cooking other meats in wood smoke throughout the US and the world calling themselves barbecue. Barbecue in Texas is most served with white bread, spicy sauces, sliced onion, jalapeños. Common desserts served with barbecue are fruit cobbler, banana pudding, pecan pie. Texas has a tradition of southern-style cuisine dating back to the 1830's from settlers and immigrants from the plantation states of the American deep south such as pan-fried chicken, field peas, mashed potatoes, cornbread or corn pone, sweet tea, dessert — pies and cobblers. Fried okra is a quintessential side dish. In Texas, many of these dishes show the influence of having evolved concurrently with the influence of Ibero- and Mexican- cuisines.
Chicken fried steak is a traditional Texas dish, a variation on schnitzel that came to Texas along with German immigrants. Some claim. Czech immigrants brought a tradition of kolache-making, a fruit-filled pastry or klobasniky, a sausage-filled pastry. German and Czech influences brought about a distinct Texas sausage making style marked by bold and sometimes piquant spicing and coarser texture; the Texas Legislature has declared West, Texas is the "Home of the Official Kolache of the Texas Legislature," while Caldwell, Texas is "Kolache Capital of Texas." The earliest claim to the invention of the hamburger was Fletcher Davis of Athens, claimed to have served it at his restaurant at a time when there were more cows than people in Texas. According to oral histories, in the 1880s, he opened a lunch counter in Athens and served a "burger" of fried ground beef patties with mustard and Bermuda onion between two slices of bread; the claim is that in 1904, Davis and his wife Ciddy ran a sandwich stand at the St. Louis Wo
Government of Texas
The government of Texas operates under the Constitution of Texas and consists of a unitary democratic state government operating under a presidential system that uses the Dillon Rule, as well as governments at the county and municipal levels. Austin is the capital of Texas; the State Capitol resembles the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C. but is faced in Texas pink granite and is topped by a statue of the "Goddess of Liberty" holding aloft a five-point Texas star. The capitol is notable for purposely being built seven feet taller than the U. S. national capitol. The statewide elected officials are: The executive branch consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, the State Board of Education, the Secretary of State. Texas has a plural executive branch system. Except for the Secretary of State, all executive officers are elected independently making them directly answerable to the public, not the Governor.
Because of many elected officials, the governor's powers are quite limited in comparison to other state governors or the U. S. President. In popular lore and belief the lieutenant governor, who heads the Senate and appoints its committees, has more power than the governor; the governor commands the state militia and can veto bills passed by the Legislature and call special sessions of the Legislature. The governor appoints members of various executive boards and fills judicial vacancies between elections. All members of the executive branch are elected statewide except for the Secretary of State and the State Board of Education; the executive branch includes several boards and commissions that are constituted through a mixture of elections and gubernatorial appointments confirmed by the Senate. With the Governor appointing several members of boards and commissions, the overall effect is a sprawling network of administrative bodies that neither the Governor nor the Legislature are able to coordinate or control.
The Governor appoints the directors of a handful of state agencies, the Governor exercises direct authority over these offices. Most state agencies are headquartered in Austin; the Texas Administrative Code contains the compiled and indexed regulations of Texas state agencies and is published yearly by the Secretary of State. The Texas Register contains proposed rules, executive orders, other information of general use to the public and is published weekly by the Secretary of State; the Texas Legislature is bicameral. The Texas House of Representatives has 150 members, while the Texas Senate has 31; the Speaker of the House presides over the House, the Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate. It is a powerful arm of the Texas government not only because of its power of the purse to control and direct the activities of state government and the strong constitutional connections between it and the Lieutenant Governor, but due to Texas's plural executive; the legislature convenes its regular sessions at noon on the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years.
The maximum duration of a regular session is 140 days. The governor is given authority under the state constitution to convene the legislature at other times during the biennium; such sessions are known as called or special sessions and are reserved for legislation that the governor deems critically important in the conduct of state affairs. Called sessions are limited to a period of 30 days, during which the legislature is permitted to pass laws only on subjects submitted by the governor in calling for the session, its session laws are published in the official Special Laws. The judicial system of Texas has a reputation as one of the most complex in the United States, with many layers and many overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court, which hears civil cases, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Except in the case of some municipal benches, partisan elections choose all of the judges at all levels of the judiciary. All members of the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals are elected statewide.
The Municipal Courts are the most active courts, with the County and District Courts handling most other cases and sharing the same buildings. Administration is the responsibility of the Supreme Court, aided by the Texas Office of Court Administration, the Texas Judicial Council and the State Bar of Texas. Texas has a total of 254 counties, by far the largest number of counties of any state; each county is run by a five-member Commissioners' Court consisting of four commissioners elected from single-member districts and a county judge elected at-large. The county judge does not have authority to veto a decision of the commissioners court. In smaller counties, the county judge does perform judicial duties, but in larger counties the judge's role is limited to serving on the commissioners court and certifying elections. Certain officials, such as the sheriff and tax collector, are elected separately by the voters, but the commissioners court determines their office budgets, sets overall county policy.
All county elections are partisan. The Commissioners Courts in Texas are