The Nov. 5 election ballot includes 10 amendments to the state constitution. Since the language used on ballots can be difficult to decipher, here’s a breakdown of the 10 amendments voters will make a decision on come Election Day:
PROPOSITION 1: HJR 72
If this amendment is voted in, it would allow an elected municipal judge to serve in more than one municipality at the same time, just like an appointed municipal judge.
Currently, an elected municipal judge may not hold more than one municipal judge office.
PROPOSITION 2: SJR 79
Should the Texas Water Development Board be able to go up to $200 million in debt for the sake of economically distressed areas?
SJR 79 proposes the TWDB can now issue general obligation bonds to finance water supply and sewer service projects in economically distressed areas as defined by law.
This proposition would not give TWDB $200 million; rather, it would give them the option to issue $200 million in bonds should they choose to do so.
The proposition was spurred on by recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and flooding rivers, according to information from the district representative’s office.
PROPOSITION 3: HJR 34
If the governor declares an area as covered by disaster, then properties in that area would temporarily be exempt from some ad valorem taxation by legislature.
This would not apply to disasters that have already happened.
It would be up to the legislature to decide the amount of tax exemption and how long it lasts. Legislature also would decide if there should be any more eligibility requirements.
PROPOSITION 4: HJR 38
Right now, Texans do not have income tax. But should the House and Senate give a majority vote — at least of the House plus one — to implement income tax, that could change.
HJR 38 would make it harder for that to happen, as it would require not just a majority vote, but a super majority vote, which would require more than 100 out of 150 House votes and 19 out 31 votes in the Senate, according to information from the district representative’s office.
PROPOSITION 5: SJR 24
In a world where SJR 24 was passed, a portion of the taxes people pay when purchasing sporting goods would go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.
There is a sporting goods sales tax already in place that can go toward the TPWD and THC, but often what happens instead is that those funds go to the state’s general fund. This proposition would make sure that the funds make it to the TPWD and THC. Use of these funds and who gets how much of what is up to legislation.
PROPOSITION 6: HJR 12
With a voter-approved HJR 12, the Texas Public Finance Authority could issue a maximum of $6 billion in bonds for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
CPRIT’s main purpose is to promote and fund cancer research in the state. According to the Kerr County website, CPRIT uses bond proceeds to award grants for cancer research and prevention. Currently, the maximum amount of bonds the CPRIT can have is $3 billion.
PROPOSITION 7: HJR 151
Should the state be allowed to distribute more funds to public schools?
The State Board of Education and the General Land Office are in charge of distributing permanent school funds to public schools across the state.
The SBE and GLO is required to pay for some things for public schools. But on top of that, the agencies can currently give schools an extra $300 million per year to help them generally with expenses, according to the district representative’s office.
HJR 151 would allow the SBE and GLO to distribute an extra $300 million.
PROPOSITION 8: HJR 4
If voters choose HJR 4, the state would create a flood infrastructure fund for the TWDB to use for drainage, flood mitigation or flood control projects.
The monies for the fund would come out of the economic stabilization fund, more colloquially known as the “rainy day fund.” The rainy day fund is a savings account for the state that’s used for emergencies.
PROPOSITION 9: HJR 95
Precious metal — such as gold and silver — held in a depository in Texas would be exempt from property taxes with HJR 95.
PROPOSITION 10: SJR 32
Currently, the state constitution prevents law enforcement animals from being transferred for free to a private person or organization.
With SJR 32, the legislature would be allowed to transfer a law enforcement animal to the animal’s handler or another qualified caretaker at no cost when the animal retires or at another time if it’s in the animal’s best interest.