Your 2019 voter guide to state constitutional amendments on the ballot in Texas

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Texas voters can vote for or against 10 amendments to the state’s constitution Nov. 5. The Texas secretary of state’s office prepared a breakdown on how the ballot language will read and what each proposition actually means.

Proposition No. 1
(House Joint Resolution 72)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.”

What it means: Currently, an elected municipal judge cannot serve as a municipal judge in more than one municipality at the same time. This amendment would allow elected judges to serve in more than one municipality concurrently.

Proposition No. 2
(Senate Joint Resolution 79)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.”

What it means: The measure would authorize the Texas Water Development Board to issue additional general obligation bonds in an amount that does not exceed
$200 million for its Economically Distressed Areas Program. The bonds are restricted to providing financing for the development of water supply and sewer service projects in those areas.

Proposition No. 3
(HJR 34)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation for a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.”

What it means: The amendment would allow the Legislature to temporarily exempt a portion of a property declared a disaster area by the governor from property tax. It allows the Legislature to prescribe the method for determining the exemption amount, duration and any other eligibility requirements it deems necessary.

Proposition No. 4
(HJR 38)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income.”

What it means: This amendment would prohibit the state from imposing or collecting an individual income tax, including an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income. The state constitution does not currently bar the imposition of an individual income tax.

Proposition No. 5
(SJR 24)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.”

What it means: The amendment would use net revenue from the portion of state tax revenue received from the sales of sporting goods for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission. The amendment also allows the Legislature to determine the specific uses of the funds and their allocation.

Proposition No. 6
(HJR 12)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.”

What it means: The amendment would allow the Legislature to increase the maximum bond amount for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas issued by the Texas Public Finance Authority from $3 billion to $6 billion. The CPRIT, created in 2007, uses bond proceeds to award grants for cancer research and prevention.

Proposition No. 7
(HJR 151)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.”

What it means: The amendment would allow increasing distributions from $300 million to $600 million per year to the available Texas Permanent School Fund. It also allows entities such as the State Board of Education and the General Land Office that manage revenue held in the permanent school fund to distribute revenue to the available fund.

Proposition No. 8
(HJR 4)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation and flood control projects.”

What it means: The constitutional amendment would create a flood infrastructure fund as a special fund in the state treasury, using money appropriated from the Economic Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day Fund. The newly created flood infrastructure fund would provide additional resources for flood mitigation. The amendment would allow the Texas Water Development Board to use money in the fund for drainage, flood mitigation or flood control projects. It also creates separate accounts within the fund as needed to administer the fund or associated authorized projects.

Proposition No. 9
(HJR 95)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.”

What it means: The amendment would create a property tax exemption for precious metals held in a Texas precious metal depository.

Proposition No. 10
(SJR 32)

The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.”

What it means: The amendment would allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to the animal’s handler or another qualified caretaker in certain circumstances. Current law prevents the transfer of law enforcement animals to a private person or organization at no cost. This amendment would change that and allow the transfer without cost.

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11 comments
COMMENT
    • Spoken like a low-life loser. If you’re unable to make useful contributions to the discussion, STFU.

      • Trump's chicken bucket

        Oooooh! Talking tough over the internet. I don’t see where you made a “useful contribution” either. All I see is you criticize the author for her choices on tattoos. Why don’t you sit down and shut up, Trumpsuckin’ trash? No one cares about you.

  1. Most of these (with the exception of the State Income Tax Prohibition) seem like mostly “administrative” amendments, but I’m very curious about the precious metals property tax exemption. Who does that primarily benefit? The depositories? Corporations, investment funds, or private individuals with gold in those depositories?
    If that means that I could buy up a bunch of gold and have it stored at a depository and not pay property tax on it, well, I guess that basically makes it like depositing money in a bank, which I also don’t pay property tax on.

  2. What is needed is a Pro and Con review of each proposition so the people like me can get a better read of what the legal talk and legal explanations mean. Some of these are very vague.

    • No, the job of the media is to report facts, which is what has been done here. It’s not their job to editorialize and tell you what think. Read the amendments, do your own research, and decide for yourself.

      • Yeah…well, mebbe. But, what I saw reading the “What it means” BS, was just a repetition of basically what the “Ballot” language said. Why waste space here, and peoples’ time with useless crap like that. There was little meaning in the “what it means” verbiage.

  3. YO! “Vanessa”! I hate to be the one to bring the bad news to ya, but tattoos are tramp stamps. Think about it. It doesn’t become you, and it doesn’t make you “cool”.

  4. I understand most of these. I also wonder what is the deal with the precious metals amendment. Smells fishy.

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Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of the paper in March 2017.
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