A Quick Look At The 10 Proposed Amendments To Texas Constitution

Texas voters have an opportunity to weigh in on nearly a dozen topics which could affect individuals, families and businesses by casting ballots in the Nov. 5 constitutional amendments election.

The 10 proposed amendment to the state constitution will impact education, parks, taxes, cancer research, people in disaster areas, flood zones and even retired police dogs.

Voters are cautioned to read the proposals carefully as the wording on a few warrant a closer read. For instance, individuals opposed to a state income tax would be in support of Proposition 4, which prohibits such a tax from being imposed.

Most of these amendments either provide funding to expand, maintain or improve existing programs or projects or seek tax exemptions or measures to prevent officials from creating certain additional kinds of taxes.

Below is a brief explanation provided for each of the proposed amendments (the Joint Resolution number) as well as the way each will be worded on the ballot to help voters prepare to vote according to their preference in the Nov. 5 Constitutional Amendment Election.

Proposition Number 1

HJR 72 proposes a constitutional amendment permitting an elected municipal judge to serve as a municipal judge in more than one municipality at the same time. Unlike an appointed municipal judge, an elected municipal judge may not concurrently hold another municipal judge office. This amendment would allow an elected municipal judge to serve as a municipal judge in more than one municipality at the same time, in the same manner as appointed municipal judges.

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

Proposition Number 2

SJR 79 proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the Texas Water Development Board to issue additional general obligation bonds, in an amount that does not exceed $200 million, for the economically distressed areas program. These bonds can only be used to provide financing for the development of water supply and sewer service projects in those economically distressed areas as defined by law.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “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.”

Proposition Number 3

HJR 34 proposes a constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to temporarily exempt from ad valorem taxation a portion of certain property located in an area covered by a disaster declaration of the governor. The proposed amendment would allow the legislature to prescribe the method of determining the amount of the tax exemption and the duration of the exemption and also would allow the legislature to create any additional eligibility requirements for the tax exemption.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.”

Proposition Number 4

HJR 38 proposes a constitutional amendment prohibiting the state from imposing or collecting an individual income tax, including an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income. There is no current constitutional bar on imposing or collecting an individual income tax.
The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “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.”

Sample Ballot for the Nov. 5 State Constitutional Amendment Election

Proposition Number 5

SJR 24 proposes a constitutional amendment that would automatically appropriate the net revenue received from the portion of the state’s tax revenue received on sales of sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The legislature would maintain the authority to determine the specific uses of the funds and their allocation between TPWD and THC.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “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.”

Proposition Number 6

HJR 12 proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase the maximum bond amount for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) from $3 billion to $6 billion to be issued by the Texas Public Finance Authority. CPRIT was created in 2007 to promote and fund cancer research in Texas. CPRIT uses bond proceeds to award grants for cancer research and prevention.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “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.”

Proposition Number 7

HJR 151 proposes a constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions from $300 million per year to $600 million per year to the available school fund and also allowing the State Board of Education, the General Land Office, and other entities that manage revenue from land or other properties held in the permanent school fund to distribute certain revenue to the available school fund.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.”

Proposition Number 8

HJR 4 proposes a constitutional amendment creating the flood infrastructure fund as a special fund in the state treasury, using money appropriated from the economic stabilization fund. The flood infrastructure fund would provide additional resources to implement plans to mitigate flood damage. The proposed amendment would authorize the Texas Water Development Board to use money in the flood infrastructure fund for drainage, flood mitigation, or flood control projects. The proposed amendment also would authorize the creation of separate accounts in the flood infrastructure fund as necessary to administer the fund or authorized projects.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “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.”

Sample ballot for the Nov. 5 Texas Constitutional Amendments Election

Proposition Number 9

HJR 95 proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to create a property tax exemption for precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.”

Proposition Number 10

SJR 32 proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to allow a state agency or political subdivision to transfer a law enforcement animal to the animal’s handler or another qualified caretaker in certain circumstances. Currently, the Texas Constitution prevents the transfer of certain public property, such as law enforcement animals, to a private person or organization at no cost. This amendment authorizes the legislature to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to the animal’s handler or another qualified caretaker at no cost, upon the animals retirement or at another time if the transfer is determined to be in the animal’s best interest.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.”

Voting Information

Registered Hopkins County voters may cast ballots in this and other elections by early ballot at the early voting center, the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace’s Court, located inside the Courthouse Annex (also the tax office), 128 Jefferson St., in Sulphur Springs as follows:

  • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29
  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30
  • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1

Election Day voting will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on November 5th, 2019 at voting centers throughout the county.

Hopkins County voters may obtain additional voting information, including sample ballots, precincts and maps by clicking the Voter Information link on the county website.

Author: Faith Huffman

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