Texans heading to the polls on Nov. 7 will have the opportunity to vote on seven different ways to change the state constitution. The proposals were approved by the 85th Texas Legislature this spring - constitutional amendments require approval from a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate to be placed on the ballot - but final approval must come from a majority of voters.
The seven amendment proposals along with brief descriptions of their content are listed below. We encourage each of you to study the issues and take advantage of your right to vote. Early voting begins today, Oct. 23 and ends Friday, Nov. 3.
for more detailed ballot information - including common arguments for and against the proposals - prepared by the Texas House of Representatives Research Organization.
Proposition 1 - Partial property Tax Exemption for Partially Disabled Veterans - House Joint Resolution 21 by Bell (co-sponsor: Creighton)
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization for less than the market value of the residence homestead and harmonizing certain related provisions of the Texas Constitution."
Prop. 1 would allow the Legislature to provide a partially disabled veteran or their spouse with a partial property tax exemption on a homestead that was donated at a reduced cost to the veteran so long as it was donated for less than its market value.
Proposition 2 - Home Equity Loan Revisions - Senate Joint Resolution 60 by Hancock (co-sponsor: Parker)
"The constitutional amendment to establish a lower amount for expenses that can be charged to a borrower and removing certain financing expense limitations for a home equity loan, establishing certain authorized lenders to make a home equity loan, changing certain options for the refinancing for home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads."
Prop. 2 would lower the cap on fees that are charged when making a home equity loan, allow the refinancing of home equity loans into non-home equity loans, and amend the list of the types of approved lenders. The proposed amendment would lower the cap on fees charged to borrowers from 3 percent to 2 percent of the principal of the loan.
Proposition 3 - Appointed Officer Term Expiration - Senate Joint Resolution 34 by Birdwell (co-sponsor: Geren)
"The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate after the expiration of the person's term of office."
Currently, the Texas Constitution requires all appointees within the state to continue to perform the duties of their office until a successor is sworn in. Prop. 3 would create an exception to that requirement for appointees who did not receive a salary, allowing the appointee to end their duties on the last day of the legislature's regular session.
Proposition 4 - Court Notice to Texas Attorney General of Constitutional Challenges to State Law -
Senate Joint Resolution
6 by Zaffirini (co-sponsor: Schofield)
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to require a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute and authorizing the Legislature to prescribe a waiting period before the court may enter a judgment holding the statute unconstitutional."
Prop. 4 would authorize the Legislature to require courts to notify the attorney general when a party to a lawsuit filed a case challenging the constitutionality of a state statute. The proposition would also authorize the Legislature to create a 45-day grace period for the state to intervene before the court enters a final judgment.
Proposition 5 - Eligibility Requirements for Professional Sports Team Charitable Raffles -
House Joint Resolution 100 by Kuempel (co-sponsor: Hinojosa)
"The constitutional amendment on professional sports teams' charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles."
Current law allows for charitable raffles for Texas major league sports organizations, such as the MLB, NFL, and NBA. Prop. 5 clarifies which professional sports team's charitable foundations may conduct charitable raffles, such as WNBA, Minor League Baseball, NASCAR, and INDYcar.
Proposition 6 - Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouses of First Responders Killed in Line of Duty - Senate Joint Resolution 1 by Campbell (co-sponsor: Fallon)
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty."
Prop. 6 would allow the Legislature to give a partial or total homestead exemption to the surviving spouse of a first responder who was killed or fatally injured in the line of duty, provided that the spouse had not remarried since the first responder's death.
Proposition 7 - Financial Institutions to Offer Prizes to Promote Savings - House Joint Resolution 37 by E. Johnson (co-sponsor: Hancock)
"The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings."
Prop. 7 would allow the Legislature to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to conduct promotional activities to encourage savings. Prizes could be awarded to the institution's depositors selected by lot.