Proposed changes to Texas Constitution to appear on November ballot

Politics

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texans will have an opportunity to make changes to the Texas Constitution in November, as state elections officials announce the order of the ballot proposals.

Deputy Secretary of State Joe Esparza drew the ballot order for the proposed amendments Thursday afternoon.

Lawmakers pass bills to change state law, but in order to make changes to the Texas Constitution, a two-thirds supermajority is required in the House and Senate — and then voters in the state — need to approve the proposals.

The eight measures will appear on the November 2 ballot.

Proposition 1: A plan to allow professional sports team charitable foundations of organizations sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to conduct raffles at rodeo venues also needs voter approval to pass.

Proposition 2: Texas voters will also have a chance to decide whether to support authorizing counties to issue bonds to pay for transportation and infrastructure projects in blighted areas. The plan also stops counties from allocating more than 65% of annual property tax revenue increases to repay the bonds and also stops counties from using the bond money to build a toll road.

Proposition 3: One of the changes would prohibit government entities from enacting rules to limit religious services or organizations. This was passed by state policymakers as a response to some communities shutting churches down to avoid crowds gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposition 4: Two judiciary-related measures will appear on the ballot as well. One would update the eligibility requirement for Texas Supreme Court justices, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals and a district judge. Candidates for those judicial seats would need to be Texas residents and U.S. citizens. Candidates for state supreme court, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals or an appeals court would need 10 years of experiences as a practicing lawyer or judge of a state or county court and candidates for district court would need 8 years of experience. Candidates whose license to practice law was revoked or suspended would be disqualified from office. These rules would apply to appointed or elected officials who assume their role after Jan. 1, 2025.

Proposition 5: The other judicial change would authorize the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct to investigate complaints against candidates running for state judicial office, just as it can do for current judicial officeholders.

Proposition 6: Another pandemic-inspired proposal would establish a right for people living in nursing homes or residents of assisted living facilities to designate an essential caregiver who cannot be barred from visiting in person.

Proposition 7: Another change would allow the state to extend a homestead limitation on school district ad valorem taxes for surviving spouses of disabled individuals if the spouse is 55.

Proposition 8: A measure to allow homestead tax exemption for surviving spouses of military members killed or fatally injured in the line of duty will also appear on the ballot. The constitution currently allows the exemption for spouses of members of the armed forces who are killed in action, but the expanded language would incorporate military members who die in military training or other military duties.

Any measures passed by the legislature during this special legislative session would likely end up on the ballot for a May 2022 constitutional election.

Graphic artist Jeffrey Wright contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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