Ballot to include eight constitutional amendments


Eight constitutional amendments will be decided by Texas voters this November.

The eight propositions cover many topics, including rodeo raffles, taxes, the state judiciary, county-issued infrastructure bonds and the authority to limit religious services.

Proposition 1: HJR 143

Bill language: “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.”

The constitutional amendment allows there to be charitable raffles at rodeo events if the raffle is hosted by a professional sports team’s charity foundation accredited by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. Other professional sports team organizations, such as Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League, all are currently authorized to host these types of charitable raffles.

Proposition 2: HJR 99

Bill language: “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.”

Counties would be able to issue bonds to finance the development of blighted areas to increase property tax revenue to repay the bonds. Municipalities are already able to use tax increment financing, so supporters of the proposition say it makes sense to expand this authority to counties. This allows counties to redistribute property taxes to certain reinvestment zones without increasing taxes. Current law is unclear regarding whether counties may utilize this approach, so the amendment would ensure clarity.

Proposition 3: SJR 27

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

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some government officials sought to restrict churches from conducting religious and worship services. This constitutional amendment would add language to the state constitution to prohibit the state or cities and counties from enacting any order that prohibits or places any limits on religious services or places of worship such as actions that took place during the early part of the pandemic.

Proposition 4: SJR 47

Bill language: “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.”

The constitutional amendment adds qualifications for holding the office of appellate and district judges. A candidate for appellate judge cannot have had their law license taken or suspended during the required 10 years the person was licensed and practicing. A district judge must serve for eight years as a practicing lawyer or Texas judge and must not have had their license revoked.

Proposition 5: HJR 165

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

The constitutional amendment would allow candidates of a judicial office to be subject to complaints and investigations by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Currently, only incumbent judges are subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Proposition 6: SJR 19

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

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many essential caregivers were prohibited from entering facilities to visit their loved ones. This constitutional amendment would establish the right of the care facility resident to designate an essential caregiver who cannot be prevented from visiting in person.

Proposition 7: HJR 125

Bill language: “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.”

Currently, the surviving spouse of a deceased person over the age of 65 qualifies for the continuation of the “freeze” on school district property taxes on their homestead residence. The constitutional amendment would provide the same to a surviving spouse of a disabled person who had received a “freeze” on their school district property taxes. The surviving spouse would have to be at least 55 years old at the time of the passing of their spouse.

Proposition 8: SJR 35

Bill language: “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.”

The constitutional amendment would allow an exemption from property taxes of all or some of the market value of the resident’s homestead of a surviving spouse of a member of the armed services killed in the line of duty. The exemption is only available if the surviving spouse has not remarried. Current exemption applies only to a surviving spouse of an armed service member killed in action, not in the line of duty.

Early voting is on Oct. 18-29, and Election Day is Nov. 2.

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