UPDATE: Texas voters approve all seven statewide propositions

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Updated 10:35 a.m. on Nov. 8

With all 7,212 precincts reporting statewide, voters have approved all seven of the constitutional amendments on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election.

Proposition 1 was approved by the largest majority, with 86 percent of voters in favor of the amendment and 14 percent of voters against the amendment. This proposition provides property tax exemptions on homes that were donated to partially disabled veterans—or their surviving spouses—for less than their market values.

Proposition 6 was also approved by a large majority, with 84.6 percent of voters in favor of the amendment and 15.4 percent of voters against the amendment. State Rep. Kevin Roberts, R-Spring, was a co-sponsor of the amendment, which provides the widows of fallen first responders with a property tax exemption.

“Sometimes these brave public servants pay the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep us safe,” Roberts said. “It’s the least Texas can do to remove one of the financial burdens that those families are facing and ensure that they are not taxed out of their homes.”

Voting for Proposition 7 was the closest out of the seven amendments. A total of 59.7 percent of voters voted in favor of the proposition, while 40.3 percent voted against it. This proposition allows banks and credit unions to hold raffles and offer chances for customers to win cash prizes, in order to encourage savings.

Laura Rosen, senior policy analyst for Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, said over one-third of Texans do not have a savings account, which can lead people to resort to high-cost lenders and other risky alternatives.

“Nationally over 45 percent of Americans don’t have enough money to cover an unexpected $400 expense,” Rosen said. “It’s really attracted to a segment of the population that has never before saved.”

The remaining propositions—2, 3, 4 and 5—all passed with more than 60 percent of the vote. Proposition 2—which lowers the cap on fees charged to borrowers when establishing a home equity loan from 3 percent to 2 percent of the principal of the loan—passed with 68.6 percent of the vote. While Proposition 3—which limits the term of unsalaried officials on state boards and commissions—passed with 83.1 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, Proposition 4—which requires courts to notify the attorney general of any constitutional challenges to state laws—passed with 64.3 percent of the vote. And Proposition 5—which expands the number of professional sports team-based foundations able to hold charitable raffles—passed with 60.3 percent of the vote.

Updated 10:08 p.m. on Nov. 7

With 79.7 percent of all precincts reported statewide, voters are projected to have approved all seven of the constitutional amendments on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election.

Proposition 1 is projected to approve by the largest majority with 86.1 percent of voters in favor of the amendment and 13.9 percent of voters against the amendment. This proposition provides property tax exemptions on homes that were donated to partially disabled veterans—or their surviving spouses—for less than their market values.

Proposition 6 is also projected to receive approval by a large majority, with 84.7 percent of voters in favor of the amendment and 15.3 percent of voters against the amendment. State Rep. Kevin Roberts, R-Spring, was a co-sponsor of the amendment, which provides the widows of fallen first responders with a property tax exemption.

“Sometimes these brave public servants pay the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep us safe,” Roberts said. “It’s the least Texas can do to remove one of the financial burdens that those families are facing and ensure that they are not taxed out of their homes.”

Voting for Proposition 7 was the closest of the seven amendments. About 60.1 percent of voters voted in favor of the proposition, while about 39.9 percent voted against it. This proposition allows banks and credit unions to hold raffles and offer chances for customers to win cash prizes, in order to encourage savings.

Laura Rosen, senior policy analyst for Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, said over one-third of Texans do not have a savings account, which can lead people to resort to high-cost lenders and other risky alternatives.

“Nationally over 45 percent of Americans don’t have enough money to cover an unexpected $400 expense,” Rosen said. “It’s really attracted to a segment of the population that has never before saved.”

The remaining propositions—2, 3, 4 and 5—are all projected to pass with more than 60 percent of the vote. Proposition 2—which would lower the cap on fees charged to borrowers when establishing a home equity loan from 3 percent to 2 percent of the principal of the loan—is projected to pass with 69.6 percent of the vote. While Proposition 3—which would limit the term of unsalaried officials on state boards and commissions—is projected to pass with 83.1 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, Proposition 4—which would require courts to notify the attorney general of any constitutional challenges to state laws—is projected to pass with 66.2 percent of the vote. And Proposition 5—which would expand the number of professional sports team-based foundations able to hold charitable raffles—is projected to pass with 60.8 percent of the vote.

Original Post

Voters had the chance to vote on seven state constitutional amendments on Tuesday. Early results show early voters statewide have shown support for all seven propositions. All results are unofficial until canvassed.

Proposition 1: House Joint Resolution 21

About 85.8 percent of voters voted in favor of this proposition, and 14.2 percent voting against it.

The ballot reads: “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.”

What it means: This amendment would provide property tax exemptions on homes that were donated to partially disabled veterans—or their surviving spouses—for less than their market values. Currently the Texas Constitution already authorizes property tax exemptions for homes that were donated to partially disabled veterans at no cost to the recipients.

Proposition 2: Senate Joint Resolution 60

About 69.2 percent of voters voted in favor of this proposition, and 30.7 percent voting against it.

The ballot reads: “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 of home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.”

What it means: This amendment would lower the cap on fees charged to borrowers when establishing a home equity loan from 3 percent to 2 percent of the principal of the loan. It would also allow home equity loans to be refinanced as non-home equity loans and would expand the list of entities that may administer home equity loans to include savings banks, credit unions, subsidiaries of banks, and savings and loan associations.

Proposition 3: SJR 34

About 83.1 percent of voters voted in favor of this proposition, and 16.9 percent voting against it.

The ballot reads: “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.”

What it means: Currently, according to the Texas Constitution, unsalaried officials on state boards and commissions must continue to perform their offices’ duties after their terms have expired until successors are ready. This amendment would relieve officials of their positions at the end of the next regular legislative session if a replacement is not prepared beforehand.

Proposition 4: SJR 6

About 66.5 percent of voters voted in favor of this proposition, and 33.4 percent voting against it.

The ballot reads: “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.”

What it means: This amendment would require courts to notify the attorney general of any constitutional challenges to state laws. It also establishes a 45-day period after notifying the attorney general, during which the court cannot judge the contested statute as unconstitutional.

Proposition 5: HJR 100

About 61.6 percent of voters voted in favor of this proposition, and 38.4 percent voting against it.

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles.”

What it means: This amendment would expand the number of professional sports team-based foundations able to hold charitable raffles. The list of eligible foundations would now include teams from the Women’s National Basketball Association, Minor League Baseball and United Soccer League.

Proposition 6: SJR 1

About 84.5 percent of voters voted in favor of this proposition, and 15.5 percent voting against it.

The ballot reads: “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 first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”

What it means: This amendment would give partial or total property tax exemptions to the surviving spouse of a first responder who was killed in the line of duty. Currently the Texas Constitution provides a property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a member of the U.S. armed forces who was killed in action but not for law-enforcement officials, firefighters, emergency services personnel or other first responders.

Proposition 7: HJR 37

About 60.4 percent of voters voted in favor of this proposition, and 39.6 percent voting against it.

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.”

What it means: This amendment would allow credit unions, banks and other financial institutions to conduct promotional activities—such as raffles—to encourage savings.

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Zac Ezzone

Zac Ezzone began his career as a journalist in northeast Ohio, where he freelanced for a statewide magazine and local newspaper. In April 2017, he moved from Ohio to Texas to join Community Impact Newspaper. He works as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition where he covers issues within local school districts and Harris County.

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