Texas Voters Endorse 13 New Constitutional Amendments

"I voted" stickers | Image by Barbara Kalbfleisch

Voters went to the polls on Tuesday to weigh in on amendments to their constitution, approving 13 out of the 14 put forth by the state legislature.

The proposed constitutional amendments touched on a variety of issues, including farming regulations, property tax breaks, high-speed internet improvements, funding for water and electricity projects, and more. Here are the unofficial results for the 14 propositions that appeared on Texans’ ballots as of 12 a.m. on November 8:

Prop.1 — Establishes a right to farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management on privately owned or leased property. PASSED with 79.43% of the vote.

Prop.2 — Allows local governments to exempt child-care facilities from property taxes. PASSED with 64.91% of the vote.

Prop.3 — Prohibits the Texas Legislature from imposing a wealth or net worth tax. PASSED with 68.64% of the vote.

Prop.4 — Increases the homestead tax exemption to $100,000, authorizes the Texas Legislature to limit annual appraisal hikes, establishes term limits for some county appraisal bodies, and allows for increased state funding of public education. PASSED with 83.83% of the vote.

Prop.5 — Renames the National Research University Fund to the Texas University Fund and establishes an ongoing revenue source from the interest accrued from the state’s economic stabilization fund. PASSED with 64.03% of the vote.

Prop.6 — Creates the Texas Water Fund to finance water projects around the state. PASSED with 77.53% of the vote.

Prop.7 — Creates the Texas Energy Fund and authorizes the spending of taxpayer money to modernize electric generation facilities. PASSED with 64.94% of the vote.

Prop.8 — Creates the Broadband Infrastructure Fund to finance high-speed broadband access and other telecommunications projects. PASSED with 69.24% of the vote.

Prop.9 — Authorizes the Texas Legislature to make cost-of-living adjustments or other benefit enhancements to eligible annuitants of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. PASSED with 83.67% of the vote.

Prop.10 — Authorizes the Texas Legislature to establish an ad valorem tax exemption on equipment and inventory manufactured by medical or biomedical companies. PASSED with 55.23% of the vote.

Prop.11 — Authorizes the Texas Legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to allow the county to issue bonds to fund parks and recreational facilities. PASSED with 63.01% of the vote.

Prop.12 — Abolishes the position of Galveston County treasurer and allows a qualified person or other county official to assume the former post’s duties. PASSED with 53.47% of the vote.

Prop.13 — Increases the mandatory retirement age for state judges from 75 to 79. FAILED with 62.35% voting against.

Prop.14  — Creates the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund to pay for the creation or improvement of state parks. PASSED with 76.29% of the vote.

The only statehouse race in this off-year election was for the vacant seat in House District 2, which represents Hunt, Hopkins, and Van Zandt Counties. The seat was vacated when the Texas House voted unanimously on May 9 to expel former Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City) from the chamber following allegations of an extramarital affair.

A House investigative committee concluded that Slaton had plied a 19-year-old intern with alcohol and then had sex with her. He allegedly pressured the girl to keep the affair quiet, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Six candidates took a shot at Slaton’s seat, but no one walked away with a majority. Voters forced a runoff election that will see Brent Money of Greenville (31.75%) face Jill Dutton of Van Zandt County (25.26%).

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