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You Decide: Break Down of the Eight Ballot Initiatives

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Voting booths line up waiting for voters. | Image by hermosawave

Early voting starts on Monday, October 18 for the November 2 election. Voters will find eight statewide propositions on their ballots. The Texas Constitution requires all amendments to be ratified by the people of Texas after passing the Legislature by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate.

The Dallas Express wants to provide you with a plain-language interpretation of each amendment, along with a record of which Dallas and Tarrant County legislators opposed the amendments during the 87th Regular Session.

 

Proposition 1: Rodeo Raffles

Bill: House Joint Resolution 143 by Rep. Geren

This would enable the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to hold charitable raffles. Currently, Article III, Section 47 of the Texas Constitution generally prohibits this practice. There are currently exceptions for organizations such as the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

Prop. 1 as seen on the ballot:

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the professional sports team charitable foundations of organizations sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to conduct charitable raffles at rodeo venues.”

Legislator(s) opposed: Rep. Cason

 

Proposition 2: Local Infrastructure Bonds for Under-Developed Areas

Bill: House Joint Resolution 99 by Rep. Canales

Voters may allow counties to authorize bonds or notes to raise money to develop infrastructure in poorer areas. Current law only allows for cities to issue these bonds. The bonds paying for such improvements would be backed and secured by taxpayers in that county.

Prop. 2 as seen on the ballot:

“The constitutional amendment authorizing a county to finance the development or redevelopment of transportation or infrastructure in unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted areas in the county.”

Legislator(s) opposed: Rep. Tinderholt

 

Proposition 3: Limitations on Religious Services

Bill: Senate Joint Resolution 27 by Sen. Bettencourt

Passage of Prop. 3 would amend Article I of the Texas Bill of Rights by prohibiting state or local governments from barring or limiting religious services. The proposed amendment was brought before the Legislature in the wake of numerous restrictions placed on houses of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic by local jurisdictions.

Prop 3. as seen on the ballot:

The constitutional amendment to prohibit this state or a political subdivision of this state from prohibiting or limiting religious services of religious organizations.”

Legislator(s) opposed: Rep. AnchiaBowers; Collier; Crockett; Davis; González, J. ; Johnson, J.E; Meza; Ramos; Rose; Sherman.

 

Proposition 4: Candidacy Requirements for Judges

Bill: Senate Joint Resolution 47 by Huffman

Prop. 4 would increase eligibility requirements to be a candidate for the Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, and regional Courts of Appeals in Texas. Currently, the law requires a candidate to have been a practicing lawyer, or a judge on a court of record, or any combination of the two that totals ten years. If approved by voters, it would specify that candidates must also be licensed to practice law in Texas for at least ten years, and during that period to have never been suspended. Additionally, it would increase minimum practice requirements for state district court candidates by requiring them to have been a practicing lawyer for eight years, up from four.

Prop. 4 as seen on the ballot:

“The constitutional amendment changing the eligibility requirements for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge.”

Legislator(s) opposed: Rep. Anchia; Collier; Crockett; Davis; González, J. ; Romero.

 

Proposition 5: Judicial Conduct

Bill: House Joint Resolution 165 by Jetton 

This would allow the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct to accept complaints against judicial candidates, as well as sitting judges. The extension of this power would allow them to conduct investigations and recommend the disqualification of candidates not currently serving in office for behavior they deem as illegal or unbecoming.

Prop. 5 as seen on the ballot:

“The constitutional amendment providing additional powers to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct with respect to candidates for judicial office.”

Legislator(s) opposed: None

 

Proposition 6: Essential Caregivers

Bill: Senate Joint Resolution 19 by Kolkhorst

Prop 6. would allow residents at nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, residence providing home and community based services, and state supported living centers to designate an essential caregiver that could not be denied visitation rights (exceptions to be determined by law). SJR 19 is in direct response to the previously mentioned facilities prohibiting, or severely limiting all in-person visitations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prop. 6 as seen on the ballot:

“The constitutional amendment establishing a right for residents of certain facilities to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation.”

Legislator(s) opposed: None

 

 

Proposition 7: Limitations on Property Taxes

Bill: House Joint Resolution 125 by Ellzey

Allows voters to decide if surviving spouses of disabled persons will be added to the list of individuals eligible for limitation of property tax. In 2019, the Tax Code was amended by the Legislature to allow for this exemption. Prop. 7 serves as the constitutional provision necessary to clarify its enactment and validate actions undertaken by local taxing officials operating under HB 1313 passed in the 86th Regular Session. Limitations of property taxes will only apply if at the time of death the surviving spouse was over 55 and lived in the same home.

Prop 7. as seen on the ballot:

“The constitutional amendment to allow the surviving spouse of a person who is disabled to receive a limitation on the school district ad valorem taxes on the spouse’s residence homestead if the spouse is 55 years of age or older at the time of the person’s death.”

Legislator(s) opposed: None

 

Proposition 8: Property Tax Exemptions

Bill: Senate Joint Resolution 35 by Campbell

Prop. 8 would allow the Legislature to exempt the spouses of military members who are killed “in the line of duty” from property taxes. Currently, surviving spouses are only eligible for a property tax exemption if their counterpart was killed “in action”. The change would allow the property tax exemption for surviving spouses regardless of the fatal incident arising from combat, or regular duties not combat-related.

Prop. 8 as seen on the ballot:

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”

Legislator(s) opposed: None

 

For more information on voting, check out Vote Texas: https://www.votetexas.gov/