The Texas Secretary of State is one of six state officials that comprise the Executive Department of the state of Texas, as defined in the Texas Constitution. The Secretary of State is appointed by the governor with confirmation by the Texas Senate to serve a four-year term. The office was originally held by Stephen F. Austin.
From the Handbook of Texas Online, a publication of the Texas State Historical Association:
The major duties of the office are to attest the governor's signature and affix the state seal to proclamations, commissions to office, and other official documents; keep a file of the official acts of the governor and the legislature, compile and publish the laws, keep a roster of all elective and appointive officers in the state; administer the primary and election laws as chief election officer; issue charters of incorporation; assess and collect the franchise tax on corporations; administer the laws concerning the sale of securities, and appoint the notaries public.