Early voting has begun for 14 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, which cover issues such as farming, energy, property tax, and more.
The polls opened for early voting on October 23, which lasts until November 3, and the general election day is November 7.
Proposition 1 contemplates a “constitutional amendment protecting the right to engage in farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management.”
Rep. DeWayne Burns (R-Cleburne), the resolution’s author proposing the amendment, explained, “There is a need to protect the right to farm and ranch in Texas in order to ensure our future food security.”
“Farmers and ranchers who engage in production agriculture within municipal boundaries are being subjected to broad overregulation by municipal ordinances that prohibit and greatly restrict normal practices of agricultural operations, such as the raising and keeping of livestock, the production of hay, and the cultivation of certain row crops,” he added.
The amendment clarifies, however, that it would not prevent the Texas Legislature and the appropriate state agencies from imposing certain restrictions, as noted by the secretary of state’s explanatory statement.
Proposition 2 would enable counties and municipalities to make child-care facilities partially or entirely tax-exempt. The amendment was proposed by Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas).
In a similar vein, Proposition 3 would prohibit “the imposition of an individual wealth or net worth tax, including a tax on the difference between the assets and liabilities of an individual or family.”
Proposition 4 also deals with tax relief and is the activation amendment for the historic property tax relief passed by the legislature during the first two special sessions, as reported by The Dallas Express. If approved by the voters, this amendment would increase the homestead exemption to $100,000 and compress rates.
On the other hand, Proposition 5 would funnel millions more in taxpayer funds to public universities for the stated purpose of achieving “national prominence as major research universities and drive the state economy.”
Propositions 6 and 7 deal with state infrastructure, with the first “creating the Texas water fund to assist in financing water projects” and the latter creating “the Texas energy fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities.”
Proposition 8 seeks to form yet another infrastructure-related fund, this time to use taxpayer money “to expand high-speed broadband access and assist in the financing of connectivity projects.”
An education-related amendment, Proposition 9, would authorize “the 88th Legislature to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to certain annuitants of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.”
Proposition 10 would enable lawmakers to exempt medical or biomedical manufacturers from inventory taxes for the purpose of protecting “the Texas healthcare network and strengthen[ing] our medical supply chain.”
The next two amendments on the ballot, Propositions 11 and 12, deal with local issues. Prop 11 would allow El Paso County to issue parks and rec bonds, while Prop 12 would abolish the office of Galveston County treasurer, granting the county commissioners court to hire a bureaucrat to fill the role instead.
Proposition 13 would raise the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 years, allowing them to serve for a longer period.
Lastly, Proposition 14 would create “the centennial parks conservation fund to be used for the creation and improvement of state parks.”
In a statement received by The Dallas Express, Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney) urged voters to “Pay special attention to Prop 4 which will allow for the landmark property tax relief we passed during this second special session. Also take a look at Prop 9, which allows for a cost-of-living-adjustment for our retired teachers.”
“I am highly in support of both of these propositions,” she noted.